Thinking Big: David Del Tredici, a conversation in 13 parts

Thoughts on Intellectual Property

FRANK J. OTERI: This brings us into another area, the whole notion of peer-to-peer networks: Napster, file sharing, and intellectual property. What would you do if people were making copies of your music and you weren’t getting paid for it?

DAVID DEL TREDICI: Well, personally I wouldn’t mind. It’s fine. That means they’re interested [laughs] and like it. The money I make off music is sort of a side income. I don’t really think about that. If anyone wanted [my music] I think it would be great. I don’t care. I never dealt in this area of making a lot of money off my music. It’s never been a reality.

FRANK J. OTERI: These people are all fighting these contentious fights. The RIAA and certain pop groups…

DAVID DEL TREDICI: Isn’t it a more pop thing that a classical thing?

FRANK J. OTERI: It is, but certainly the publishers are very interested in this. The performing rights societies are very interested in this…

DAVID DEL TREDICI: Well, ASCAP is interested, I’m sure. But the money ASCAP makes off classical music is tiny. When you look in any magazine there’s one tiny page about classical happenings. So it doesn’t affect me as a so-called serious composer. It simply doesn’t affect me. I’ve never been in the big money with my music. It’s just not a reality, so I don’t care.

FRANK J. OTERI: Theoretically, if people were trading… “I’ve got the complete Child Alice; do you want to hear my bootleg copy?”…

DAVID DEL TREDICI: Right. I’d love it!

FRANK J. OTERI: It would get the word out there, and maybe there’d be more performances. Then there’d eventually be an official recording of it, one would hope.

DAVID DEL TREDICI: Right. That’s my feeling.

FRANK J. OTERI: I admit I’ve got an unreleased cassette tape of Child Alice, and I’m happy I’ve gotten to hear it.

DAVID DEL TREDICI: You do? [laughs]

FRANK J. OTERI: [laughs] Yeah, for many years. I don’t even know how I got it at this point.

DAVID DEL TREDICI: I wonder where you got it? Well, this is an argument for younger people than I. This is not going to be my future.