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Taking Off My Pants [NY Times: The Score]

17 Jul

Taking Off My Pants [NY Times: The Score]

Any composer’s success — no matter how we each define it — is never, not ever, all about the music. I wish it were. It is not. For both the men and women among us, there is an inherent bitonality in the woman-composer label. It underscores the crises of female composers as unique in our field versus our art on our own terms. If a female composer embraces her label, and that label is used as a determining factor for an opportunity of any kind, is her music diminished, muted, because it was not evaluated on an even playing field with the music of men? If a male composer embraces the use of the “woman composer” label for his female peers, as a member of the group with the majority presence are his opportunities diminished because of a determining factor — gender — over which not one of us has control?

Composers work in a public sphere; those with a presence in any corner of our musical community have navigated and created that presence in part via interpersonal relationships. We write our best music, we meet people, we work with people, and slowly, with or through people we know, varied projects and collaborations emerge. While writing compelling music is our foundation, our vehicle of expression, our scaffolding for our livelihood, a composer’s life, career, presence in the artistic culture at large is also about much more than our music.

 

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