Composers Forum is a daily web log that allows invited contemporary composers to share their thoughts and ideas on any topic that interests them--from the ethereal, like how new music gets created, music history, theory, performance, other composers, alive or dead, to the mundane, like getting works played and recorded and the joys of teaching. If you're a professional composer and would like to participate, send us an e-mail.
Elodie Lauten’s Ten Reasons To Stop Composing was a shock. “Are we better off dead?” I am very happy to hear that her answer is “No.” I was afraid that I was going to read “Suicide is painless…”
It is not that I disagree with her facts, it is just that I’m not willing to stop composing just because the world isn’t paying me for it. And she isn’t either, even though she has not yet discovered the logic to support her activities.
In fact it has been liberating to be ignored most of my career. When no one is listening there are no inhibitions. It is encouraging to be heard from time to time and to be koshered by the NEA and paid by a wonderful ensemble. But those things do not provide a living. For that you have to find your own way. Certainly my music has wandered sufficiently away from the mainstreams of music (off into the swales…) that I can’t expect to be a major grant/prize winning composer. The people that make those decisions are usually riding a wave, way beyond rivers and swales.
I think we need to focus on writing the music itself and stay healthy, make enough money to live, love, and try to live to be old. I think they may start celebrating us after we hit 80, Elodie. Oh yeah, positive thinking..that could help!
posted by Beth Anderson