07 April 2008

Nico Muhly on Programming (And Something About Girls Gone Wild?)

In thinking about how to epithetize Nico Muhly (composer, wunderkind, quite attractive person) for this linkage, I've realized that not only do I hope to be considered as worth-listening-to as the other NPAC bloggers, but if anyone thinks I'm half as good looking, well that would be quite a coup.

So, yes, talented musicperson and additionally genetically blessed Nico Muhly has his (very well-written and worth-listening-to) post up on the NPAC blog. As I can't say anything about NPAC without fretting about how I measure up to the other bloggers, let's note that Nico beats my post by including photos, and by use of "srsly." And he was profiled in New York. But whatever. I've got a whole year till I'm 26.

God, I am such a narcissist.

This is a post about linking to Nico's post on the NPAC blog, which is a great read. It's about our favorite dead horse to beat savior of The Art, new work. (I can't wait for the NPAC post that's all, "New work blows, total waste of time.") But Nico's post, obvs, isn't about new plays, but new classical music. (Not, as you, or I a year ago, might think, a contradiction, as 'classical music' just means, like, not-pop, played-with-an-orchestra, etc. Maybe everyone knows this. But best not to assume. Moving on.)

I like Nico's post, because I don't know about you, but I am sick of theatre. I know very little about classical music (see: previous parentheses), no more than whatever one gets when one of one's best friends is entrenched in the industry. So Nico's piece, for starters, draws a clear picture for this theatre-centric girl of how new work figures into his world. It's interesting to compare - I can't help but feel that they have it easier, but I'm not sure. New work is being commissioned and produced, but according to Nico there's an epidemic of one-off performances of weird stuff that might parallel theatre's 'development hell.' (Although the composers probably get paid more than an in-development playwright.) So there's all this 'new work' being commissioned, but the repertoire remains unbreached. Nico calls out orchestras on their "Hey, look, we do new work! Check out this one night performance of a new piece for tap dancer and gamelan by an up-and-coming young composer!" bullshit. But rather than "bullshit!" he says intelligent things like, "Adventurous commissioning is simple, ungimmicky programming of new works: a new violin concerto to join the pantheon, a new symphony, a new clarinet quintet." And manages to work "srsly" in there, too. Totes worth a read.

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