This week I want to check in on an issue I grazed, as it were, with a haphazard spray of speculative birdshot last week: What does a composer have to be in the 21st century?
It’s become a joke among us composers here in Minnesota. In our face-time meetings with members of the orchestra, when we get to the part when it’s time to talk about individual pieces, it happens without fail: “Now first, where’s Sean? Who wrote surface tension?”
Is it possible that listening and composing are contradictory impulses?
Today, we focused on the nitty-gritty. The basics in terms of law, our rights, and even more, $$$. Well, maybe only $.
Do we need to have a healthy music program in place in order for composers to work with students?
It was a marathon of various happenings that started this morning. After our breakfast meet-and-greet with Aaron and Beth, the Orchestra’s artistic planning associate, we launched (and lurched) right into our first working meetings: sessions with members of the orchestra to discuss our pieces.
Sean Shepherd is one of eight composers who will have a piece read during the 2006 Minnesota Orchestra Reading Sessions and Composer Institute (the American Music Center is a partner in this project). Sean has just landed in the Twin Cities, and he has agreed to give us a play-by-play of what’s happening up north each day over the next week.
The pay, the prospects, the status—you’d have to be crazy to think that composing is a career. And maybe that explains everything.
After so many failed attempts at orchestral hip-hop, is it even worth trying out other hybrids?
After giving the matter some thought, I realized that many of my teachers have been exemplary in some fashion or other, and although I never framed the evaluation of mentors in terms of inspiration, they’ve provided invaluable models for thinking about composition in particular and life in general. Why not call them inspiring, then?