With less pressure to produce concrete results, composers and performers tend to create with more verve. This week, a few more Avaloch New Music Institute examples illustrate how friendship can be a vital collaborative tool and how developing trust over a long period of time generates more interesting, sustainable work.
Los Angeles is a place where cultural dichotomies are magnified, and the rift between American and European musical priorities illustrated by the experiences of émigré composers of the ’30s and ’40s offers a powerful case in point. This was a collision of worlds which never fully resolved or came to an agreeable integration, reflecting some of the fundamental fragmentation of Los Angeles.
For ensembles of composer/performers, neither the tight, goal-oriented schedules of summer festivals nor the creative isolation of writers colonies fit. At Avaloch, both Triplepoint Trio and Invisible Anatomy were able to stretch their legs creatively while being inspired by the diverse community around them.
How can taking part in a close dialogue over the genesis of a piece lead to more sustained and flexible partnerships between composers and performers? How can being in an idyllic natural setting, surrounded by other interesting musicians and away from one’s normal routine, impact creative work? Is it important to be friends?
We have all, at one time or another, had to come to terms with Milton Babbitt’s music, with his ideas about music, and with the place he helped define for composers. Anyone who can make us question the way forward so profoundly is helping us become ourselves, whether we like it or not. Even people who—to put it kindly—were not fond of Milton owe him a debt of gratitude.