As a composer, I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to live in and personally get to know many different musical cultures and communities. Eight years ago I met two people who have given me a personal connection to the broader new music community in Asia. I have now been living in Taiwan since last August, teaching composition and music technology at National Chiao Tung University.
Suffering a severe ear infection and terrified that his livelihood as a teacher, composer, and performer might come to an end, Chris began fretting over the seemingly small losses. “I adapted neither brilliantly nor heroically. Retreating, I made no music.”
Our landscape shapes our perception of the world, and thereby our culture. Music that we create about, for, and with a community can itself act as an advocate for these places.
Not everyone should be in “the business.” If rejection really hurts, opt out. I did for a few years when I started taking this all too seriously. Now I savor every application.
Most of us believe that we possess the power to make positive change in the world. Are we experiencing a resurgence in new music composed to highlight social equity? If so, why now?
During the funding application process you are doing something similar to what you do as an artist: Sending your gifts out into the world with little hope of recognition or remuneration. But you are not sending forth your art; instead you are launching a very elaborate lottery ticket into the world.
We have the opportunity to look beyond traditional funding models to keep our music fresh and authentic. How can each of us help to create a supportive community locally?
Jed Speare insisted on listening to the city, finding music in the matter and memory of urban spaces—from cable car barns to sewage treatment plants and everywhere in between.
Composing about place and stories of its cultural, geographic, and human history serves a vital advocatorial role on several levels.
With our collective action, it is within our grasp to begin to create a new kind of concert hall for the 21st century—bringing in new audiences, inspiring new generations through art and music, and building stronger communities.