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Thread: The reality of life for contemporary composers

  1. #496
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    I recently saw an article in NewMusicBox which had some data on commissions. The median was $1,500.00, but some were six figures with a cluster around $5,000. Many of the young composers I talk with have gotten commissions, but not enough to live on. It is a variety of revenue streams.

    Composer Commission Pay in the United States

    Regarding ALW - I vastly prefer Stephen Sondheim who made it pretty high on the "composers favorite composers list."
    Last edited by SanAntone; May-22-2021 at 02:10.

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  3. #497
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post

    Regarding ALW - I vastly prefer Stephen Sondheim who made it pretty high on the "composers favorite composers list."
    I think you win the prize here for the most profound understatement I've ever seen at TC. I liked Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. JC Superstar was tolerable, though I preferred Godspell. Cats adopted poetry of the great T. S. Eliot, which was a good concept. I could do without the rest of ALW. Meanwhile, Sondheim has simply been extraordinary. I only brought up ALW as he is the most financially successful composer of at least arguably classical music alive today. Only a handful of others, such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Herb Alpert, reportedly are wealthier.

  4. #498
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    How new music is made and the support community it generates.

    https://cantaloupemusic.com/about
    "Cantaloupe Music is the record label created and launched in March 2001 by the three founders of New York's legendary Bang on a Can organization—composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe—with Bang on a Can managing director Kenny Savelson. Cantaloupe Music has made a massive impact in the new music community, and has been recognized by critics and fans worldwide for its edgy and adventurous sounds."


    https://bangonacan.org/about_us/
    "Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found. With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future. Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders."


    https://bangonacan.org/peoples_commissioning_fund/
    "The People’s Commissioning Fund is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers. PCF is simple; we bundle together hundreds of individual contributions of all sizes and select three or more new composers to write pieces for the phenomenal Bang on a Can All-Stars."


    From Wikipedia:

    The following is an incomplete list of experimental music festivals, which encapsulates music festivals focused on experimental music. This list may have some overlap with list of contemporary classical music festivals and list of electroacoustic festivals. Experimental music is a compositional tradition that arose in the mid-20th century, particularly in North America, of music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable. The Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète (GRMC), under the leadership of Pierre Schaeffer, organized the First International Decade of Experimental Music between 8 and 18 June 1953, and the phrase was used by musician John Cage as early as 1955. Afterwards saw the development of specific experimental musical instruments, which were featured at various music festivals. Musique concrète is an experimental form of electroacoustic music, and free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the taste or inclination of the musician(s) involved.

    In the 1950s, the term "experimental" was often applied by conservative music critics—along with a number of other words, such as "engineers art", "musical splitting of the atom", "alchemist's kitchen", "atonal", and "serial"—as a deprecating jargon term, which must be regarded as "abortive concepts", since they did not "grasp a subject". This was an attempt to marginalize, and thereby dismiss various kinds of music that did not conform to established conventions. In 1955, Pierre Boulez identified it as a "new definition that makes it possible to restrict to a laboratory, which is tolerated but subject to inspection, all attempts to corrupt musical morals. Once they have set limits to the danger, the good ostriches go to sleep again and wake only to stamp their feet with rage when they are obliged to accept the bitter fact of the periodical ravages caused by experiment." He concludes, "There is no such thing as experimental music ... but there is a very real distinction between sterility and invention".

    Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences. Avant-garde music may be distinguished from experimental music by the way it adopts an extreme position within a certain tradition, whereas experimental music lies outside tradition.
    Last edited by Nereffid; May-23-2021 at 23:07. Reason: housekeeping

  5. #499
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    It’s interesting but the life of a composer rarely did consist just of composing music. Bach had numerous other duties and Mozart as free lance had to take pupils and live the life of a virtuoso. It was Beethoven’s deafness that forced him into the life of a composer else he would’ve done other things especially as a pianist. Mahler was a conductor. As a writer, writing is a sideline among other things. And I guess composing is to musicians unless they are extremely fortunate in finding funding

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  7. #500
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parley View Post
    It’s interesting but the life of a composer rarely did consist just of composing music. Bach had numerous other duties and Mozart as free lance had to take pupils and live the life of a virtuoso. It was Beethoven’s deafness that forced him into the life of a composer else he would’ve done other things especially as a pianist. Mahler was a conductor. As a writer, writing is a sideline among other things. And I guess composing is to musicians unless they are extremely fortunate in finding funding
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp5tEZUoswM&t=28m17s

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