My friend Christopher Trapani is a composer of classical music. Apparently he is quite a good one, having won the Julius F. Ježek and Gaudeamus Prizes, among others. Also, one of his pieces was performed at Carnegie Hall, which I've heard of.
Before I met Chris I assumed that new classical music mostly involved people trying to find new discordant ways to extract terrible sounds from instruments that were designed to produce pleasant ones. It turns out that's exactly what it is, but with program notes like this: "Florence in 1899, or the unexplored ends of the earth. An exotic wash of sonorities, mystical metallic shades—almglocken, steel drum, [...]