Thursday, 9 May 2013
I recently had the opportunity to see comments from a commissioning jury regarding a grant that was denied (not for me-- an incensed colleague forwarded them.)
- Over all, the jury was supportive of the [commissioning ensemble].
- They felt the support materials for this application were not up to the artistic quality they are looking for.
- They agree that Mr. X is an accomplished composer, however they feel he is limited to certain gestural language. His music is very reminiscent of film music.
- music is “well done, but what is the urgency for more music like this?” “what is the need or urgency for this new piece”
- “what is going to be new in this music”
- Great soloist. The soloist could be taking more of a risk and it feels like the music would not be giving her that opportunity.
- The jury was not critical of the composer’s music but made the decision on the artistic assessment.
- Next time the project description can outline more of the risks, edge, what’s new about the project.
Does anyone in 2013 actually say "what is going to be new in this music" anymore? Does anyone really still believe that unless music is completely lacking in direction and discourse it sounds like "film" music? Do "artists" on juries really feel that they have the right to tell a soloist that they should be "taking more of a risk"? Are there really composers out there who genuinely believe that there is something "new" about their own projects?
Musicians are the stupidest professionals. If doctors or lawyers behaved the way we do, we would all be dead or in jail.
Many years ago, John Weinzweig told me something I have never forgotten: the jury system stinks-- but it's the best we can do.