Our decision to award more small grants is driven by the same underlying principle that has motivated our entire approach to project grants: bringing artists into the public limelight is crucial for a modern-day healthy ecology for new music.
Like many composers, I write orchestral, chamber, and vocal music, for any sort of concert opportunity that comes up, but since I started composing I wrote church music because that’s where I was. In the churches I’ve gone to, that meant writing for choir.
PLUS: Review last year’s full week of education-related content in case there’s a pop quiz at the faculty mixer.
Michael Ching’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is resolutely tonal, frequently extremely tuneful, and sometimes borders on pop. Yet it is radical and totally unexpected. There are no instruments in the orchestra, every sound is made by voices. It sounds nothing like what you might imagine an opera based on Shakespeare would sound like. And yet it totally works.
An orchestra sensation at age 23. Published by 30. Then a Pulitzer Prize and a Grawemeyer. Now a biography. What’s left after someone writes up the story of your life? Aaron Jay Kernis just keeps on going, continuing to balance composing, teaching, and raising a family.
You can make a Broadway musical out of anything.
While localities and regions may be less important in terms of a specific shared sound or group of influences (although that’s still a possibility, too), I’d contend they remain essential as accumulations of a “critical mass” of resources and opportunities to collaborate.
Looking around, listening around, culture is as stylistically non-hegemonic as I’ve ever experienced. But parallel to that is a kind of greater semiotic compartmentalization: the vast majority of cultural artifacts I encounter keenly announce their stylistic allegiance early and often.
What is not problematic on an individual level can become catastrophic on a larger level, and I worry that we are rapidly ruling out pretty much every scenario that would allow a typical musician to make a living.
It’s important to put your best face forward professionally. We’re all hustling for gigs, and it doesn’t make sense to do anything but make yourself look as appealing as possible. But perhaps there is another layer to it.