Composer Ed Windels, in his NewMusicBox post, “Coming Out as a 5 to 9 Composer”, discusses, among other things, the historical precedents (Charles Ives, etc.) for composers making their living as something other than a composer. I’m in the same situation as Mr. Windels, though I’ve thought of myself more as an “unaffiliated” composer than as a “dayjobber”, the word he uses.

Mr. Windels also mentions that for years he “succumbed” to the “long-standing and short-sighted” ideology that held that if you were not a full-time composer[1], you are “somehow less serious, less committed, and less worthy”.[2] This ideology is also behind the pernicious idea that composers writing on spec are taking opportunities away from the more serious composers, those who get commissions, who, because of these commissions, are more often full-timers.[3]

At any rate, it’s my belief that there is a qualitative distinction between being an unaffiliated composer and a dayjobbing composer, though there is, of course, significant overlap. It may be that that distinction is more in play after the music is written.[4]

I’ve recently had the feeling that I’m writing better[5] music than I might have had things gone in other directions. Mr. Windels says he will discuss that and other aspects of the life of the dayjobbing composer in his next post. I’ll expand on the issue at that time.

*            *            *            *            *

The great Bob Shingleton, in a post called “Music blogging#itsover”, simultaneously discusses and belies the end of music blogging. The bottom line: “. . . they are not worth reading”. Read the whole thing for context and elucidation.

The present post is a stab at reviving this blog and stemming the tide Mr. Shingleton writes about. I have ideas for several series of posts like the series I wrote to commemorate Carter 100. It’s difficult to fence off time to do those posts (for reasons related to the first part of this post), but the Carter series was very valuable for me, and I believe they had some value for at least a few readers. Here’s hoping that #itsnotquiteover. 

[1] He includes composers with posts in academia as full-timers. Nope.
[2] In my arrogance, it never occurred to me that I was less worthy because I wasn’t full time. Never.
[3] As Mr. Preston asked, will it go ‘round in circles?
[4] Then there is the phenomenon of the “disaffiliated” composer, who can’t get performances in her own hometown, because institutions don’t see what’s in it for them to play music of unaffiliated locals.
[5] Was going to put “better” in quotation marks. Fuck that.


watch that space

Earlier this week, I launched a new website devoted to my compositional activities. The site includes an "About" page, which is basically a brief, fairly uninformative biographical statement, a works list, an audio page titled, in an inspired bit of cross promotion, "Listen", a gallery page ("Look"), a contact form, and a blog, called "Read". "Wait a minute", you say. "You never post on this blog, and now you've started another one?"


The blog over there will be devoted to items about the website itself and to news about my music. Over here here, I'll continue to post reviews, lists, observations, and reading recommendations.

As always, thanks for listening!