The Friday Informer: Music by the Numbers

  • 17 Days: Length of time new music fans had to wait between the September 17, 2005 premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Third Symphony (“La Salsa”) by the Milwaukee Symphony and its release on iTunes on October 4. You can download it now for $3.96.

  • 75,000 Tracks: Selections from the Naxos catalog to be made available via the digital music service eMusic. Naxos also maintains a subscription-based, multi-label digital library (130,000 tracks on 7,715 CDs) and a 60-channel web radio service.

  • 2000 Guitarists: Number of volunteers Hard Rock Cafe Melbourne is attempting to assemble for a charity event on Oct. 29 to break the Guinness World Record for a “Guitar-A-Thon.” They’re slated to pound through Deep Purple’s very dated classic “Smoke on the Water.” Blah. Someone page Glenn Branca, stat.

  • £44,000 (which is to say, $77,922): Portion of their paycheck “music enthusiasts” are likely to drop on concert tickets, recordings, and related gear over a lifetime to feed their habit. The average person is likely to restrain himself to a more conservative $37,174. [BBC News]

  • 20 Percent: Amount music can positively impact athletic performance, according to new research. Band kids and the football team share a group hug. [London Times via huffingtonpost.com]

    I’m seeing wild new commission possibilities here, sponsored by Nike. Discuss.

5 thoughts on “The Friday Informer: Music by the Numbers

  1. william

    The New York new music group, Ensemble Sospeso, is presenting 21 composers this season. Only one is a woman, the pop singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir. That’s 20 to 1, or 5% for women .

    What would it take to get the directors of Sopeso to understand this kind of programming is grotesque? Many of the men they perform are very obscure, while they have never programmed many very well-known women composers.

    Are the directors of Sospeso sexist, or the victims of circumstance, or a little of both? Would it be worthwhile to write and ask them why they setup this 20 to 1 ratio? Is it appropriate to express anger, and what is the best way to do that?

    Or what if a group of brave women distributed protest leaflets at a couple of their concerts? (Something short, simple and respectful distributed with calm, friendly dignity. It could simply note the poor ratio and list the many recognized women who have never been programmed.) Would it have an affect on next season’s program? What would Sospeso think with the public sitting there holding those leaflets along with their all-male program?

    The stats for women in all of Sospeso’s seasons taken together appear to be even worse, but I didn’t bother counting the exact numbers.

    The ES website is at: http://www.sospeso.com/contents/musicians.html

    The names for this season’s composers are listed below my signature.

    William Osborne
    100260.243@compuserve.com
    http://www.osborne-conant.org

    Composers featured this season by Ensemslbe Sospeso
    (* denotes world premieres performed this season)
    john ashcroft
    john barry
    alban berg
    pierre boulez
    johannes brahms
    joshua cody *
    marc-andré dalbavie *
    brian ferneyhough *
    björk guðmundsdóttir
    bruno mantovani *
    thurston moore *
    kirk noreen *
    george plimpton
    wolfgang rihm
    arnold schoenberg
    erik satie
    elliott sharp *
    dj spooky *
    rand steiger *
    morton subnotnick *
    john zorn

    Reply
  2. william

    Sorry, I forgot to format the previous post. Here it is formatted.

    The New York new music group, Ensemble Sospeso, is presenting 21 composers this season. Only one is a woman, the pop singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir. That’s 20 to 1, or 5% for women .

    What would it take to get the directors of Sopeso to understand this kind of programming is grotesque? Many of the men they perform are very obscure, while they have never programmed many very well-known women composers.

    Are the directors of Sospeso sexist, or the victims of circumstance, or a little of both? Would it be worthwhile to write and ask them why they setup this 20 to 1 ratio? Is it appropriate to express anger, and what is the best way to do that?

    Or what if a group of brave women distributed protest leaflets at a couple of their concerts? (Something short, simple and respectful distributed with calm, friendly dignity. It could simply note the poor ratio and list the many recognized women who have never been programmed.) Would it have an affect on next season’s program? What would Sospeso think with the public sitting there holding those leaflets along with their all-male program?

    The stats for women in all of Sospeso’s seasons taken together appear to be even worse, but I didn’t bother counting the exact numbers.

    The ES website is at: http://www.sospeso.com/contents/musicians.html

    The names for this season’s composers are listed below my signature.

    William Osborne
    100260.243@compuserve.com
    http://www.osborne-conant.org

    Composers featured this season by Ensemslbe Sospeso
    (* denotes world premieres performed this season)
    john ashcroft
    john barry
    alban berg
    pierre boulez
    johannes brahms
    joshua cody *
    marc-andré dalbavie *
    brian ferneyhough *
    björk guðmundsdóttir
    bruno mantovani *
    thurston moore *
    kirk noreen *
    george plimpton
    wolfgang rihm
    arnold schoenberg
    erik satie
    elliott sharp *
    dj spooky *
    rand steiger *
    morton subnotnick *
    john zorn

    Reply
  3. Garth Trinkl

    Thanks, William, for this important piece of analysis — which I read on the same day that I see NewMusicBox featuring Gordon Getty’s My Uncle’s House. (In my view, a lost opportunity to feature a distinguished –or emerging — woman composer. Perhaps you could run an analysis of the number of woman composers NMBox has featured.)

    Perhaps you could also ask Jerry Bowles if you could also post this analysis at Sequenza21 where it might get more readers — included more woman composers. Thanks again.

    Reply
  4. Christopher John Smith

    Ensemble Sospeso
    Sorry, but I frankly fail to see what is wrong with their programming. You describe “many” of the composers as “very obscure”. I have not heard of five of them, out of twenty. Is that “many”? Do you consider Ferneyhough, Rihm, Thurston Moore, DJ Spooky “very obscure”, and therefore less worthy of consideration than others on the basis of their not being female? Who exactly are all of the superior women composers who are being passed over in favor of such unworthies as Schoenberg, Berg, Ferneyhough, Rihm and Satie? I can name Chayna Chernowyn, Gloria Coates, Gabriela Ortiz, Dlugoszewski, and Seeger and women composers of substance; and doubtlessly there are couple of others. Certainly it would be nice if they were programmed, and I imagine sospeso will get around to it; if they play Ferneyhough, no doubt they’ll play Chernowyn eventually. Could it be they’re programming on the basis of merit, which would cause them to exclude certain current leading women composers, who are, frankly, mediocrities who owe their status to trendy identity politics? If so, good for them.

    Reply
  5. Garth Trinkl

    I can name Chayna Chernowyn, Gloria Coates, Gabriela Ortiz, [Lucia]Dlugoszewski, and [Ruth Crawford]Seeger [sic?] [as] women composers of substance; and doubtlessly there are couple of others.

    Christopher,

    I doubt that there are only a “couple of others”. How about scores of other female composers of fine and highly individual and distinguished substance?

    As Frank, Randy, or Molly would say — Any thoughts? Discuss? [But please no discussion of women and designer ball gowns here, OK?]

    *

    (If I even started to list some of the “others”, I would probably forget one — or a few — of these women composers of substance who are colleagues of mine, or personal friends of mine; and therefore I will refrain — for now.)

    Reply

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