Michael Schell discusses a duo performance of Cecil Taylor and Pauline Oliveros and questions why Oliveros is classified as a classical composer and Taylor is not, when they are working in the same conceptual tradition:
"At the same time, though, this coupling highlights a prejudice that continues to haunt conventional narratives of Western art music. Of these two musicians -- both of similar age and similar stature among musicians, and both clearly capable of articulating a shared musical language in a public space -- only Oliveros is consistently mentioned in textbooks and retrospectives on contemporary classical music (see, for example, the otherwise admirable surveys by Paul Griffiths, Jennie Gottschalk, and Tim Rutherford-Johnson). The omission reflects the idea that art music requires a score, that it must be 'fixed in some sort of notation for a performer or creator to interpret or execute' (Rutherford-Johnson) to be authentic. This was a legitimate premise prior to the 20th century, but it has become obsolete in the age of audio recording, radio, and digital media. Nowadays the record, not the score, is the real 'text,' and the persistent conception of classical music as an exclusively literate tradition has pushed the music of Taylor, and his fellow improvising avant-gardists (many of whose backgrounds were impediments to the academy), to the margins of the canon.
"Ironically, Oliveros also emphasized improvisation in her work, and almost all of her published scores use verbal instructions rather than musical notation. But she was still invariably described as a 'composer,' and was able to achieve success in the milieu of universities, concert venues and foundations, whereas Taylor was always a 'jazz musician' who mainly performed at night clubs and festivals. And so his eminence languishes in the domain of jazz history, jazz radio, and jazz CD bins. Despite today’s well-publicized efforts to improve diversity in musical opportunity and programming, it seems that the segregation borne of professional biases can be just as intractable as the cruder chauvinism of social bigotry. Taylor’s music, so powerful and innovative, deserves recognition that transcends these boundaries."