Hundreds of millions of people have seen Disney’s version of Le Sacre. It became a door–a misshapen door, perhaps, but a door nonetheless–for many to venture into contemporary music.
My first introduction to Oklahoma was driving up I-35 in 2003 the day after a previous tornado had hit Moore. When I left, however, my impressions were not of windswept plains but of a surprisingly strong community of musicians and audiences who are open to performing and hearing new music.
Obviously there are some genres–jazz quickly comes to mind–in which specific musical creative events occur and are lost on a daily basis. We can’t keep everything, so it goes, but when it comes to our musical creations, this is how we as composers are going to be remembered.
Recently there have been several major shifts in “umbrella” organizations that oversee granting opportunities for composers, performers, and presenters both here in the United States and in the United Kingdom. I am hopeful that these changes in grantland will assist me and my colleagues in our music-making for years to come.
The fact that even active student performers have a hard time being enticed to come to a concert with a guest artist or composer because of the “seriousness” they’ve experienced in the past did get me thinking…of cheeseburgers.
Over the years I have discovered that working with choreographers and dancers is challenging not only from a technical standpoint, but also that the various limitations force me into artistic directions that I would have never explored otherwise. Now that I’m working with “emerging” composers, I try to ensure that they get those same opportunities during their studies.
Caroline Shaw is different in many ways from previous Pulitzer Prize winners, but it is the sense of enjoyment in being a part of something bigger than oneself that, in my humble opinion, makes her stand out.
As we become more interconnected, we’re going to discover even more links between the disparate “worlds” that we all find ourselves in. Whether or not these situations call for change-of-self or change-by-others, they do signify a growing trend towards inclusivity, appreciation, and a “big tent” concept that embraces those people, sounds, and ideas that run counter to our own.
Having fun, or composing simply for the intrinsic enjoyment of creation, isn’t something that’s discussed much in education or composition circles, but I think it should be.
What comes first, the repertoire or the available and interested performers? Having written more than my fair share of brass works, I find myself asking why more composers don’t try their hand at it.