This is remarkably relevant to Armando’s piece below about jobs – STRONGLY recommend everyone looks at that and the thoughtful comments.

I found the transcript of British music critic Tom Service’s October 23 lecture at Scotland’s Sound! Festival, and pondering over it has kept me up for about three hours now; the clock is still running.

He talks about the desperate situation facing new music, how it is still trapped in the grips of modernism and how the future must be written outside the conventional pathways of the last 50 or 60 years. You tell me, but isn’t it kind of obvious that a young composer shouldn’t model him or herself after a 70, 80 or 100 (I get you can guess that one…) year-old composer?

The piece is a fun read thanks to Service’s witty and glib writing, but I think his revelatory “prognosis” is a little late to the party. Maybe I live in a vacuum, but most of the composers around me embrace the notion of being self-promotional, working closely with talented performers who advocate their work (assuming they can find them) and writing the music THEY want to write without much consideration for precedents. I think Service is echoing trends that are already well at hand in the United States (I mean, Bang-On-A-Can pretty much epitomizes what he thinks composers should do), but please let me know if the bleary eyes of my late-night reading made me miss the point.

Hoping for a good discussion!

- Garrett

One Response to “Tom Service’s Sound! Festival Lecture”
  1. Laoshi Ma says:

    Another music forum had an interesting discussion and critique of this lecture.

    A longer discussion is on an almost-counter-argument:

    Basically, I’m forced to like a large part of Mr. Service’s argument, but I can’t get past that he’s still stuck in the economic mindset of the past — large city- and state-funded orchestras giving commissions. Composers have to do it themselves – be more punk about it…