Interesting... Over the last four years, the Grammy award for Best Classical Album has gone to a recording of a work by a LIVING composer three times: On the Transmigration of Souls by John Adams, Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Bolcom, and Made in America by Joan Tower. Additionally, the year in which the award didn't go to a work by a living composer, the work was performed by the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, who do more to promote works by living composers than any other top orchestra in the United States. Coupled with the programming changes which Baltimore is apparently planning under their new director, it's hard not to see this as being part of a (healthy in my opinion) trend.
It's kinda fun getting caught up on all this again: in high school and early college, it was a HUGE part of my life.
I'm going to give that Joan Tower album a try - the reviews are all stellar.