A large portion of the composers with whom I’ve had the luck to sit down with so far have had relatively little experience working with collaborators (choreographers, poets, filmmakers, theatrical directors, etc.) and a couple were just recently dipping their toes into the collaboration pool (if you can call writing operas for major companies around the country “dipping a toe”).
One of the more philosophical questions I’ve been asking each composer throughout my interviews is: “Does your music reflect the world around you or project a new world from within?” I added this at first to make sure I didn’t have too many “techie” questions, but as I proceeded to ask artists what their thoughts were, it has become a valuable insight into the mindset of each composer as they turned their gaze on themselves.
Spring cleaning is one of those tasks that many of us have been thrust into over the past few weeks. Taking the time to organize, collate, investigate, analyze, and purge is healthy and needed, but these exercises will sometimes force composers and other creative artists to face items from their past that they may not be willing to look at or even admit to their existence: their early works.
With the mystery that is attributed to the creative arts by others and encouraged by many practitioners, it is easy to forget how much control we have over our art and careers. Over the past year the 35 composers I’ve interviewed so far have been, to a person, extremely deliberate in what they do and how they do it.
In order for us as an artistic community to take up Daniel’s call for a greater presence at the musical and cultural table in our country, we need to be aware of who and what our community is—not just in Brooklyn or on the North Side of Chicago or in New Haven, but throughout the country—and include as many as possible into this greatly needed cultural conversation.
When it comes to the topic of revising one’s music, there are a great many different concepts and attitudes towards what can and should be revised, and discovering how one composer revises their works can offer a great amount of insight into their mindset when they are composing the work to begin with.
There is no pattern when it comes to successful composers and their online interactions. Where you can find one instance of someone harnessing the Internet with all of its social networking glory to magnificent effect, you find someone else who eschews anything more advanced than e-mail—and they both have thriving careers.
Doubt, as an integral ingredient in the lives of most creative artists, is rarely discussed openly.
If works of the recent past were studied and taught with the same gusto as works by them-who-wore-wigs, who knows what ramifications that might have?