Banding Together: BCM International
FJO: I went on the Web to find BCM International and I found Bible Centered Ministries.
Steve: There are a lot of BCMs.
Jim: There’s also a music store in Bombay…
Steve: …and the British Chess Magazine…We have far reaching influence. But we haven’t exposed that publicly yet…
Eric: BCM started as a joke. We were looking for the most innocuous sounding corporate knock-off we could find and BCM International stuck. When we became more established it somehow took on a life of its own. And people often mistake us for corporate entities which we find hysterical.
Jonathan: BCM doesn’t exist; it’s just a name. There’s no money. There’s no corporation.
FJO: There are two of you in New York, one in Chicago and one in L.A. I know in America we have a World Series, but your group is hardly international.
Steve: It makes us sound even bigger. We have some performances internationally. We’d like to have a lot more of those. So maybe it’s more of a hopeful title than descriptive.
Jonathan: In the same way that there’s the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport which has daily mail runs to Canada…
FJO: OK, so it’s all a joke, but seriously now, what made you decide to form a collective? How and where did you all meet?
Eric: Jon, Steve, and I were all at Juilliard. I started recruiting friends of mine saying, “Guys, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in terms of concert music.” You can write a piece and you’ll have conductors from all over the world hunting you down and begging to perform your new pieces. And they can’t wait for your next new work, which we all know in the world of concert music is a rare situation. And then I met Jim when he was in Los Angeles and we’re all great friends and so it grew out of this. Each year there’s a big convention, the Midwest [Clinic] in Chicago. I had been going to it for a couple of years alone and I was losing my mind being there all by myself. So I invited these guys to come and check it out and we formed a little tribe to create safety in numbers.
FJO: But you’re not a publisher and you’re not a presenter. You’re not a record company, although you do have a CD out. So what are you?
Jonathan: We call ourselves a composers’ consortium.
Steve: We’re four really good friends who want to have a way to hang out together.
Jonathan: Strength in numbers to promote our music, to get the music played.
Jim: To test ideas in a safe environment…
Jonathan: Composing is such a lonely, individual thing and there’s precious little you can do with other people, especially other composers, but this is one way to do it. With three other guys, you can really make something happen. You can get a booth at Midwest. You can put a catalog together of works. If one of the band directors likes one of the composers, he’ll look at your stuff too.
FJO: But Eric just said it was easy.
Jonathan: It’s easy for Eric.