Dear Sequenza21 folks,

I enjoy your site immensely.  It is really a wealth of information and opinions – a kind of lively gathering of the diverse personalities that inhabit contemporary music.

I am a musicology grad student and I am working on a project this semester about classical music on the internet – the way new technologies affect how the music is disseminated, received, perceived, etc. – and the ways new and changing audiences are interacting with the music.

I am not sure who responds to emails at this address, but I was wondering if anyone could answer a few questions for me.

Basically, I was interested to find out a little bit about the history of Sequenza21 – how it came together and its stages of development.

Also, I would love to hear any thoughts about the place of a site like Sequenza21 in the world of contemporary classical music:  What is the significance of the kind of community it fosters?
Does it help to reach new audiences – is it an effective means of promotion – or does its main value lie elsewhere?

Does it have some role in altering the perception of contemporary classical music in contemporary society?

…or any other thoughts.

I am sure everyone involved with the site is extremely busy.  Please do not feel pressured to reply if you simply do not have the time.  I would, however, truly appreciate any information and thoughts you could offer.

Many Thanks,
Will Boone

JB Note:  So, what do we think?

10 Responses to “But If So, To What Extent?”
  1. Jerry, you’re the one with the answers to these questions.

  2. Jerry Bowles says:

    I can answer the questions about dates and what Duane Grant and I thought we were doing when we started S21 six or seven years and the shift to a blogging format in 2004. I can only speculate, like everyone else, about how and why the site works as a community with an incredibly loyal following. I’m now a partner in a company that builds community sites for large companies but S21 still has the most passionate and engaged members. Does it help reach new audiences? I hope so. Does it alter perceptions of new music? Beats me. That’s why I thought I’d share the questions.

  3. I see. Well, I suppose one could make a case that you’ve tapped into a community that is very hungry to be heard…

    And I can’t speak for anyone else, but this site has certainly altered the perception of new music held by the majority of composers in my household.

  4. Kyle Gann says:

    Participation in this site has certainly provided a kind of low-key self-promotion
    for the composers involved that is considerably more subtle, interesting, and benign
    than the usual press releases and manager’s shticks. For instance, as a direct
    result of reading Sequenza 21 I’ve written articles about the musics of Alex
    Shapiro and Lawrence Dillon, whom I discovered here, and I’ve become involved
    with the musics of Galen Brown and David Toub. And Rodney Lister has graciously
    taken a performing interest in my own music. None of this would probably have happened under the auspices of typical direct self-promotion. There is much to be said for getting to know composers through their arguments and reactions and a sense of community, rather than the usual capitalistic “Here I’m giving a concert please publicize my work.” As with almost anything else, an awful lot goes on in the peripheral vision of such an enterprise which would be deadening if it were the main focus.

  5. Steve Layton says:

    What Kyle (& Lawrence) said. In addition to the regulars (and semi-regs) here, We’ re constantly promoting people and things that, while wonderful, don’t often or easily show up in in the larger institutions or press.

    Nobody’s paid here. Jerry’s happy to welcome most anyone who can string a coherent thought & sentence together. Credentials aren’t so much your degree, career or press, but rather your initiative, creativity and openess. Importantly, there’s no real stylistic agenda, other than what each contributor brings; maybe that makes it a bit all-over-the-place, but then again that’s pretty much where we are in this time.

    “One true path” folks — whether conservative, progressive, hermetic or social — provide occasional & essential rant-spice, but the aura of general friendliness seems to prevail. Anyone who thinks this is some kind of exclusionary “clique” only needs to sign on with Jerry to add their voice. As long as they don’t don’t completely rub everyone elses’ faces in the dirt, they’re welcome to the playground.

    Does it make any real difference? Definitely yes, though maybe not in the more traditional institutional or “big press” way. Will Boone wrote us because he himself comes and “enjoys the site immensely”. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing more here than a bunch of musicians from every station, whose only real connection is that they’re creating here & now…. just like Will.

  6. I would like to add that Sequenza21 provides a place online for response to content. That’s my opinion, but I do like to comment if I choose, and the freedom to do so is liberating. There are blogs where commenting isn’t possible, and the exchange provided here creates food for thought, for me.

    But I also think that blogs like “PostClassic,” and “Sandow,” – blogs where real thinking is going on – are wonderful, if not for anything else, and there surely are other reasons, just because the authors of those blogs respond to their readers!

    You’re more than welcome to contact me, that’s for sure. Click my website link and send me a message.

  7. Margaret says:

    As a past graduate student in musicology & theory (and currently a full-time mom), I have Sequenza21 set as my home page just so that I can spend a least a minute or two trying to keep up to date. I am really happy to have such easy & friendly access to what’s happening. Good luck with your research!

  8. David Salvage says:

    When I turn to go on the internet, I imagine myself as going to look out a window. S21 is a window to the minds of those passionate about new music, and there’s no better view of this out there than here.

  9. Will Boone says:

    Thanks for your comments! If anyone has anything to add, you can send me an email anytime.

  10. Will Boone says:

    …it’s wboone@email.unc.edu, by the way

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