John Eaton: Involving Audiences in the Sweep of the Music



John Eaton
Interview Excerpt #13


FRANK J. OTERI: One thing that I believe has been unfortunate is the dissemination of your music. I’ve known Danton and Robespierre for a number of years, I have the CRI LPs, and I have an old Turnabout LP with the Concert Piece for Syn-Ket and Orchestra, but I have very little else, and knew of very little else until recently, and certainly, you know, you’re in a very, very good position vis-à-vis, you know, the thousands of composers in America today in that you have music represented by one of the major publishers of the world, which is great. It’s enviable to a great number of composers. But there haven’t been a lot of recordings of your music that have been available, and I think it’s a crime. Danton and Robespierre isn’t even in print anymore, it needs to get reissued on CD, and so much of this music is not available, so what do you do? This is a problem facing every composer. How do you get your music out there?

JOHN EATON: Well, my music is difficult. Very difficult. Much of it. And it requires, you know, really dedicated performers. For that reason, I haven’t run after recording companies constantly to record. I wait until something is really in the shape that I want to make it as a permanent record, because I think of recording as a permanent record. However, yes, especially as one gets older, you know, you really hope that your music will become more generally available, even though some of the performances might be riddled with faults.

FRANK J. OTERI: One of the aspects of recordings that we sometimes forget is the value they have as a rehearsal tool for future performances. I recently had the luxury of having a piece that I wrote performed again by an ensemble that was completely different from the one that had originally performed it. Having a recording of that original performance saved so much rehearsal time. Of course, this should be completely obvious for any composer but I bring it up here with you since your music contains microtonal intervals that may not be second nature to many performers and if these performers could only hear more recordings of your music, they would have so much more understanding of it than if they were playing it cold.

JOHN EATON: Well, I can’t agree with you more, and I really wish every piece of mine were recorded, and I wish I had spent more time trying to pursue that.

FRANK J. OTERI: Well, let’s hope all the folks at the record companies will see and hear this interview and your phone will not stop ringing with offers to record all your music!