Producing my opera The Face outside of the world of traditional opera companies has been both challenging and freeing. Major companies have a significant infrastructure and financial resources, but they also tend to focus on a full season of standard favorites. A new music ensemble or small independent production company can dream and create independently.
When Marvin Hamlisch was inventing music, his focus and concentration were extraordinary. He would look at the words I had brought in for 30 or 40 seconds and hear something in his head. His hands would then take over. After that initial “idea” phase in the composing, there seemed to be no time-lag between his continued musical impulses and his ability to simply play them.
Composer, musicologist, record producer, and genre bending pioneer İlhan Mimaroğlu (1926-2012) died last month after a long illness. Composer Bob Gluck was one of the last people to do an extensive interview with him so we asked him to describe this one-of-a-kind music maker for us in memoriam.
Ralph Jackson is a kind of sage, a savant with an uncanny gift for seeing beyond superficial complexities into the real essence of a situation. Ralph’s perspective is always insightful, often provocative. It is never predictable. Ever.
Apart from the time we take for performances, networking, promoting our work, etc., I am fascinated by how we composers inhabit our composer-clocks. Writing time: where is it, when is it, how is it.
Turning pages might seem like an almost desultorily simple task. It is not. It is a skill, and a surprisingly delicate one at that.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but to teach only the composers discussed in someone else’s textbook, chosen by someone else’s narrative, would surely be an impoverished and lazy approach to pedagogy.
The NEA/Kickstarter cage-match narrative compels because it gets at a central debate in American society: the value of shaping markets through planning and policy versus letting them run free.
It’s wonderful to celebrate the composers of our time, but lets do it by freeing them from our gender-burdened past. If we do this, then what happens to the ‘woman composer’? Well, we bury her.
It is hard to tell in advance sometimes if something new will turn out to be a good idea or a bad one, which might be a good reason to do it by itself.