Subjectivity isn’t actually a matter of taste. It’s a matter of expectation. When it comes to art and artistic renderings, there is, unfortunately, often a disconnect between what an artist is presenting and what an audience believes their price of admission is buying.
New music has been as much about challenging modes of listening and perception as anything else. What is most wonderful to me about the park experience was that all modes of listening are available simultaneously.
When we elevate a certain kind of craft and its formal concerns above all else, this kind of gatekeeping doesn’t just hurt young composers, it also shuts out other potential voices, marginalized voices, voices that could bring new life to new music. It is completely inimical to the spirit of creativity that should animate and drive us.
If you happen upon an offensive or meaningless piece of visual art, you can just walk away. A live performance, on the other hand, holds you hostage. What responsibilities does this place on the presenter?
Commissions are not always the best funding model. Some projects are more like entrepreneurial ventures, and as such, they require financial risk-taking and the willingness to take on fiscal as well as artistic accountability.
Money has nothing to do with the quality of anyone’s music. That said, for those who choose to put together a living from composing, there are myriad avenues for monetizing one’s output—which can offer both exciting opportunities and an overwhelming career equation to solve.
Why does it still seem novel when artists talk transparently about the money they make from art or other jobs? I wonder if talking about the very unsexy ways we make a living threatens some myth of the “serious artist”?
Alsop’s final festival next year will be her 25th, leaving behind a deep legacy. Her successor will have giant shoes to fill, and multiple challenges.
If that incendiary Spectator article actually had anything to teach us, it’s that there’s intense interest in female composers!
Composer Carolyn O’Brien calls on her ingenuity and strength to create through, and with, severe depression. Read her on the importance of formal structure, a sense of play, and a great husband.