If you haven’t read Randy Nordschow’s piece on composer bios, read it right away (then come back here immediately). It’s great—so great that I couldn’t resist ganking his subject for further exploration.
Only by taking risks can we transcend our limitations.
Every now and then, I run across a piece of information that completely rocks my world, only to find that everybody on my block already knows all about it. I don’t know whether the use of beta blockers in classical music performance is common knowledge, but I find this genuinely alarming.
So who’s writing In Memoriam Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Come on. I’m sure it’s at least crossed somebody’s mind.
Mozart’s 250th birthday celebration throws more “fair and balanced” programming out the window.
I’ve tried my hardest to penetrate the Uptown/Downtown dialectic that seems to dominate stylistic discourse among many NewMusicBoxers, but there’s something about it that I could never quite wrap my head around, and I think I finally know what it is.
I’ve thought about submitting scores to competitions under the name, in the style, and in the simulated hand of one of the judges, carefully pieced
together at the computer; on one level it’d be a joke, of course, but
part of me thrills at freaking out successful composers this way.
It has occurred to me that our music is probably less a result of our processes than vice versa: We want to meet certain goals in our music, so we’ve accumulated, synthesized, and exercised skills that allow us to accomplish these goals.
This week I want to check in on an issue I grazed, as it were, with a haphazard spray of speculative birdshot last week: What does a composer have to be in the 21st century?
After giving the matter some thought, I realized that many of my teachers have been exemplary in some fashion or other, and although I never framed the evaluation of mentors in terms of inspiration, they’ve provided invaluable models for thinking about composition in particular and life in general. Why not call them inspiring, then?