What’s It Like To Be A Composer In 2012?

Back in 1750 composers were supported by Kings and Queens and all types of bizarre stuff by today’s standards.

Today, composers who want to hear their music have mainly 3 options:

1.) Artist colonies
2.) Contests, Fellowships, Grants
3.) Smooze

Artist colonies suck because of the bottle neck of many applicants vs. one “winner”.

Contest and Fellowships are the same. Us composers have to spend hours upon hours just to fill out the wastless paperwork in hopes we’ll get the spot. That time could be better spent on writing beautiful music. And let’s face it, out of 1,000 applicants, it’s unlikely you’ll be chosen.

The 3rd option is to network until your face falls off. This is the most promising, but still takes almost a decade to get any traction. And the end result is null: no one will attend your concert because no one has heard your music before, and no one will hear your music because no one has ever heard you in concert. And usually the music, in my opinion, isn’t remarkable - so it rarely interests me.

So that’s it. And that’s what gets me upset and keeps me going every day. Why are composers dead before their music is performed? Why has it gotten this bad?

While there are other “miscellaneous” options as a composer, these are the main ones. But how is that not broken? The fact is this: YOU - right now, today - are the Kings and Queens of 1750. You are the supporters.

I get emails all day long about this. Composers can’t get musicians thrown together easily like a rock band ensemble can. And any effort by any orchestra to play new music is horribly executed.

Also consider, that new music sells poorly against a Beethoven piece or a Jennifer Higdon world premiere. So that’s the problem, and that’s what we’re determined to set out and change. I truly believe that art will bring the world together.

This community is strong. It’s amazing. It’s passionate. And together, we’re going to change the world.

Shit Orchestra Arrangers say:

  • Why can't an oboe play a low Bb? Ughhh, that would've sounded PERFECT!
  • I can't give this line to the vibraphones, they'd just mess it all up.
  • There are 7 notes in this chord, so how the hell am I going to spread THAT out over the violins?
  • Celli.
  • Guitar players don't need breathmarks, but Woodwind players do. Way to ruin what would've sounded amazing, Mr. Guitar Riff.
  • "Thanks for the invite guys, but I have to finish this piece, so I can't go out tonight. Or ever."
  • This piece needs more "purple".
  • The piece needs more "blue".
  • "Let's give this to the trumpets. Actually, no, let's not."
  • Ohhhh, I forgot to transpose the score. No wonder why it didn't line up!
  • Timpani's, stop messing up my key signatures.
  • "If I put triangle here, then this shit is going to raise the roof."
  • Should this measure get a new rehearsal mark?
  • If I put the 3rd in the bass, then the voicing will work. Damn, but then the 3rd is in the bass!
  • It's in 12/8? Worst day ever.
  • Where is that dissonant note in this chord? I've looked everywhere!
  • They're probably expecting a HUGE crescendo here, so let's drop everything out and give them just a Xylophone solo.
  • Unpitched Vocals? Ughhh, this is going to be a long day.
  • I need inspiration.
  • The need for breathe marks are ruining this phrase. Just killing it.
  • Maybe if I take a walk I'll figure it out.
  • Should I put a Fugue here?
  • This is staring to sound amazing! But is it fun to play?!
  • Omg this is going to sound AWESOME.
  • Omg this is going to sound HORRIBLE.
  • I should've became a mechanical engineer.
  • Hi Artistic Director, this is the 5th time I've asked for payment from my arrangement last month.
  • Should this part go "ba-da-DUM-da" or should it go "ba-DA-dum-DA"?