Let’s face it, writing a composer biography is hard. It’s really super hard to write one’s own biography, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a composer who is totally content with his or her own bio. I consider updating my own bio to be pure and unadulterated torture. Much of the time these bios all sound the same—a drone of awards, commissions, and famous, impressive teachers. Boring! It would be great to see some more creative approaches to the composer bio, as other artists seem to be able to do on occasion; to read a biography that really provides a sense of the composer as a person.
Last week we here in Baltimore had a bit of fun on Twitter, when Oscar Bettison began tweeting about “problem phrases” in composer biographies. For example:
Several folks joined in the discussion, and there was some effort to come up with:
Several attempts were made, and while #composerbiononos seemed like the best option, Oscar made a good point:
Anyway, Molly had a good idea for how to approach writing a composer bio:
It would be brilliant to see some bios like that! Long story short, we started getting completely goofy about this topic—I believe there were also cold meds involved—and started imagining biographies written in the style of various famous authors:
This sparked a bit of creativity (including in the spelling of author names, ahem), which, although not so much effective in the traditional sense of the hashtag, was awfully entertaining nonetheless. Behold a few examples:
My very favorite one of all arrived later that evening:
I don’t know about you, but if more bios started like these tweets, I would definitely keep reading!
Additional examples are welcome in the comment section, and/or on Twitter. Have fun!