Jay C. Batzner is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida where he teaches theory, composition, and technology courses as well as coordinates the composition program. He holds degrees in composition and/or theory from the University of Missouri Kansas City, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kansas.

Jay's music is primarily focused around instrumental chamber works as well as electroacoustic composition. His music has been recorded on the Capstone, Vox Novus, and Beauport Classical labels and is published by Unsafe Bull Music.

Jay is a sci-fi geek, an amateur banjoist, a home brewer, and juggler.

Cruelest Month?

Who said that April was the cruelst month? Ok, sure, I know that T. S. Eliot did, but April has been pretty freakin' sweat around here.

I just deposited my dissertation, which went very smoothly. And I just accepted an Assitant Professor position at the University of Central Florida. Looks like I won't be the Midwestern Blogger for much longer.

Otherwise, a buddy of mine is starting up a composers collective and I've been asked to join that. Should be cool. We are rounding up performers for our music as well as a bunch of venues. Details are sketchy at this point, but they usually are at the beginning.

The recent chatter about the Pulitzer got me thinking. It seems that the chatter of LAST year's Pulitzer was finally put to rest and now everyone gets to bitch about THIS year's prize. I've heard Wyner's piece. It is good. Contests are, in general, worthless. So why does everyone get worked up about it? Contests are, in some ways, like watching Ebert and Roeper. They express their opinions on a grander scale than most other movie critics. Same thing with contests.

I say all of this having never won a contest. My friends have. Well, now that I think of it, only one friend has. Around here, it really falls around ethnic lines. There, I said it. Nationality goes a long way in contest winning in these parts. What really bugs me is that when a composer of a specific nationality wins a contest there are huge batches of congratulatory emails that get sent to the listserve and clog my inbox. When the rest of us get major performances, teaching positions, and university-wide fellowships, you can hear the crickets chirping.

And I'm tired of people saying that Elliott Carter doesn't "need" to win any more awards. Since when were awards based on need? If he is still writing rockin' ass music, which he is, then he should get the award. And since when did award winning change anyone's opinion of a piece? Will you like/dislike Wyner's concerto just because it got a "thumb's up" from the Pulitzer gang? Give me a break. You will like/dislike the work based on your own merits.

We can stop complaining about contests now. We know the truth.