During the funding application process you are doing something similar to what you do as an artist: Sending your gifts out into the world with little hope of recognition or remuneration. But you are not sending forth your art; instead you are launching a very elaborate lottery ticket into the world.
When compensation takes the form of passion and satisfaction, instead of monetary remuneration, what is the impact on performance quality, commitment, and artistic freedom? If we could remove money from the equation by making sure artists get paid enough to do better than get by, what would that look like?
Commissions are not always the best funding model. Some projects are more like entrepreneurial ventures, and as such, they require financial risk-taking and the willingness to take on fiscal as well as artistic accountability.
Money has nothing to do with the quality of anyone’s music. That said, for those who choose to put together a living from composing, there are myriad avenues for monetizing one’s output—which can offer both exciting opportunities and an overwhelming career equation to solve.
Why does it still seem novel when artists talk transparently about the money they make from art or other jobs? I wonder if talking about the very unsexy ways we make a living threatens some myth of the “serious artist”?
We have the opportunity to look beyond traditional funding models to keep our music fresh and authentic. How can each of us help to create a supportive community locally?
In this volatile environment, there’s a piece of economics that can help make sense of what’s going on, help us make better decisions as artists, and even help us make long-term plans.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the winners of the Charles Ives Opera Prize of $50,000 and the Virgil Thomson Award of $40,000. These two prizes are the largest that are given exclusively to American composers of vocal music.
Music, at its core, is not a rational art. And yet its creation now necessarily happens within systems and societal frameworks evermore marked off, framed, and otherwise governed by the self-proclaimed rationality of Big Data. Sometimes the meeting will be useful; sometimes it will not.
Commissions form an important financial pillar that supports many composers’ careers, but negotiating compensation is often an uncomfortable topic. “Commissioning Music: A Basic Guide” continues to provide a baseline at which to begin the conversation.
What’s useful about examining how business funds creation is that it provides a currently functioning model in which money is already flowing for the development of new things. It also shows that there are several ways this can be done. Let’s imagine some potential futures.
With our collective action, it is within our grasp to begin to create a new kind of concert hall for the 21st century—bringing in new audiences, inspiring new generations through art and music, and building stronger communities.
“Do you consider the audience when you are writing your music?” Several times, I’m shocked to hear the composer reply: “No.” How can this be?
We have spent thousands of hours in practice rooms and countless hours alone composing, practicing, and pursuing funding. Music is hard. But we can use the adversity training idea to fully embrace the challenge that music, and the surrounding industry, brings to our lives.
Though born, raised, and compositionally trained in Southern California and currently pursuing a master’s degree at Juilliard under the tutelage of John Corigliano, 23-year-old Saad Haddad has been focused on creating music that incorporates traditional Middle Eastern musical aesthetics. But he is not at all dogmatic in his transfer of Arabic music theory to pieces that are designed to be interpreted by musicians trained in Western classical music and performed for its usual audiences.
Let’s consider the case of this article. The title occurred to me in an instant, and within that instant, I knew I had enough ideas to fill an article. Up until that point, I honestly had absolutely no idea what I was going to write about. I am not claiming that it is a “divinely inspired” title, as that would be a little presumptuous. But the fact remains, it came to me when I needed it, so that I could meet my deadline.
Surrounding ourselves with a diversity of people will help to make us smarter and more creative. Building it into our projects will continue to result in innovative works and better music. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
By virtue of our recording project, the Kepler Quartet has had a privileged window into the essentially spiritual quest in Ben Johnston’s music. Johnston embraces a richer way of being: to work towards pure, honest relationships with others by using a vertical, harmonic approach concentrating on perfect intervals which produce less discord, increased resonance, and maximum clarity. At age 90, a full fifteen years after he stopped writing music, Johnston has come to a place in his life where his main goal is to have a positive impact on his environment.
I was told after I wrote it—by a (perhaps too) “serious” musician—that BasSOON It Will Be Christmas wouldn’t get played much. Well, it gets played at least a dozen times annually and has been played by many top orchestras, such as the symphonies of Atlanta, Houston, and Pittsburgh.
To thrive in the 21st century, we need to rethink our philosophies around how we conceive of success and our methods of making money. What would it look like if we all changed the way we view our careers? What would music schools look like if we changed the way we message vocation?
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the seventeen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $205,000.
Significant features distinguish software from hardware in terms of their apparent (or at least perceived) suitability for specific musical tasks, and this has an often-unremarked influence on musical processes. Nic Collins draws out some illuminating distinctions.
There was a very distinct point at the beginning of my composing career when a decision changed absolutely everything for me. My future would take time to pan out, of course, but at the moment when I chose the three-letter response instead of the two-letter one, an entirely new career path was set into motion.
Can’t find it on Spotify? The major streaming services are expanding their catalogs, but they’ll never amass the treasure trove of contemporary American music that New Music USA has coming in the door every day. Tune in and explore!