When I suggest to undergrads that they should take what is now called a “gap year,” the first question they blurt out is, “What will I do?”
“Get a job,” I say.
Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett have been honored as the Official Texas State Musician of the Year in the past, but last year’s honoree was Conspirare founder and artistic director Craig Hella Johnson. There’s a very good reason for that.
In this new and somewhat turbulent era for classical music, our own personal success isn’t just about us anymore. The old model is no longer relevant because simply having a job or being a superstar doesn’t necessarily contribute to our communities or to our art.
Both in terms of Douglas Detrick’s compositions and the performances by his trumpet/sax/cello/bassoon/drums quintet, The Bright and Rushing World is a true hybrid of the aesthetics and sensibilities of jazz and contemporary classical music.
Matthew Ritchie, currently in the midst of an 18-month stint as the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston’s artist-in-residence, presented his collaborative piece Monstrance/Remonstrance with an impressive group of collaborators including Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner, Evan Ziporyn, and David Sheppard.
The program is a partnership between Boosey & Hawkes, the New World Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony designed to develop the professional careers of emerging composers in the Americas.
The $75,000 awards recognize mid–career, risk–taking artists in dance, film/video, music, theatre, and visual arts. Roberts was chosen as the winner in music for her “charismatic, powerful renderings of sound.”
It seems like the entire audience problem debate stubbornly looks outward, asking questions about marketing, “outreach,” and accessibility, all the while carefully avoiding some seriously necessary self-examination. Instead of an audience problem, I think new music has a quality problem.
For as much as it stirs the pot when a “serious music” review mentions the soloist’s hem line, it turns out things get even more heated when pop goes under the cold lens of the theoretical magnifying glass.
Lately I’ve been reflecting more and more on how I’ve dealt with rejections and supposed failure as a young composer. Because I now teach at a small liberal arts college, I constantly see and interact with a sea of undergrads. And because of their presence, I am reminded of how I dealt with what I perceived as devastating defeat upon experiencing rejection.