We hear a lot of composers, and artists in general, bemoaning their being lumped into some category or another. Some are irate over some genre classification that sounds trite or inappropriate, or frustrated at being mentioned in the same breath as colleagues of theirs with whom perhaps they are less-than-thrilled to be associated.
This kind of complaint is in fact so common that I find myself being curiously drawn to those composers who actively display community, associating themselves strongly with other musicians, even other composers! This week is all about composers-who-like-other-composers, and we're devoting programming to the Composers Collective.
Performing is inherently a community-based endeavor. I like working with other musicians and I like the kind of elegant interpretations that are only possible after hashing things out grittily in rehearsal. Composing, on the other hand, can seem to be a lonely practice; one must, at some point sit down in solitude and put notes on paper. Many, many composers are very happy to work in relative isolation (think Xenakis). From time to time, though, composers seek out or stumble upon a sort of community (think Les Six). We'll explore a bunch of different composer collectives this week, namely Bang On a Can, the NOW Ensemble, Sleeping Giant, Ears Open!, and Common Sense.
OK, but obviously any manner in which one can create awesome things is just great. I'm definitely having a moment of curiosity in re the community-minded kids, though. What could all this mean! How do you like to create? By your lonesome or in a kind of alone-together pack?