On Thursday, I’m giving a talk about Milton Babbitt’s life and work to high school composers at Westminster Choir College’s Composition Camp. It seems only fitting to introduce them to Babbitt as part of the week’s activities. He lived near WCC’s campus, attended a number of events at the college, and until it closed some years back, could often be found at the Annex at lunchtime. Many of our students knew Milton best because they’d waited on him there!
Another reason that I want to share my interest in Milton’s music with them: he was the first composer that I met; when I was about the same age as many of the composers attending this week’s camp. And yes, I found his music to be baffling at first; but it made me want to learn more about contemporary music: how it’s made and what makes the composers of it tick. I’ve been at it ever since!
It’s difficult to sum up Milton’s work in an introductory lecture. I’ve limited myself to 12 slides (pun intended).
An hour after my lecture on Babbitt, I’ve been asked to give a composer talk about my own work. I’ve set myself with a tough act to follow!