What are the most important concerns for philanthropy in new music? Thomas Buckner

Thomas Buckner
Photo by Jack Mitchell; courtesy of Thomas Buckner

“Open Up the System”

What strikes me as a key issue in the funding for new music or any art form is the danger that it becomes a closed system. Through internal politics, organizations tend to fund a certain group of people year in and year out. There’s a difference between someone who is doing something really exciting artistically and someone who can write a good proposal.

How do you open things up?

Instead of having only a few giant organizations, we should spread the power around to a wider variety of different smaller groups who represent different cultural and musical attitudes. I’ve always thought that it was important to fund curators who have autonomy but then make sure that those curators change regularly.

I also agree with Charles Ives. Artists have to get their hands dirty. Musicians have to take responsibility for presenting themselves and each other. I think people should, however possible, try to find ways to make things happen on their own.