Later today, I will have reached 40. It’s a number I’ve been looking forward to for quite a long time.
No, if you are wondering, today is not my birthday and I am not entering the hallowed halls of forty-something-ness; I’ve been making myself at home in those halls for almost two years now. Later today (this first Friday of November) I will be conducting my fortieth interview with a composer since I began this adventure almost 18 months ago. Over the past 10 months or so, I’ve been lucky enough to explore many of the ideas, concepts, and questions that these interviews have raised in my own mind through this online medium, and so I thought it wouldn’t be a bad thing to step back a bit and re-examine exactly what it is I’m doing, what my goals are, and make sure I haven’t missed something along the way.
For those of you just tuning in, I started interviewing composers back in early June 2010, with the intent of compiling edited versions into a book format along with (and here’s where I get optimistic) a companion anthology of scores by those composers as well as a CD set of the works within the anthology. The number of composers in the project started at 30, then grew to 36, then 40, until finally coming to rest somewhere between 50-60. Will this number stay there? Maybe…hopefully. Has that number become too unwieldy for a single volume? Probably. Am I concerned? Not really. I expected the project to evolve over time, and the fact that I did not nail myself down to a hard-and-fast list/concept/publisher right off the bat has allowed me to continually re-think what I’m doing and what would be the best way to convey both the actual interviews as well as the issues that the interviews raise.
I definitely think that a book would still be the best overall medium for this project; I’ve made no secret that I was inspired by Ann McCutchan and her collection of interviews in The Muse That Sings, a great introduction to the world that many composers face every day. But I’m also considering additional options, including a companion website that might allow for access to edited audio files of selected interviews. Ultimately one of my goals is it to make it easier for those outside of our contemporary concert music community to introduce themselves to the composers as well as the general idea of composing music. These ideas are still in flux and as I continue to whittle away the number of composers I have left to interview for this project, I’m looking forward to pulling the entire project into sharper focus and seeing where that takes me.