Tuesday, April 10, 2012

March/April Birthdays!

Due to our crazy schedules as of late (not to mention being distracted by all the gender-related hoopla!), Sarah and I neglected to get the March birthdays posted. Sorry!

Happy Belated Birthday to Pierre Boulez and Tristan Murail and Happy Birthday to two composers born in April--Chen Yi and Augusta Read Thomas! As always, these birthday posts offer only a small sample of living composers, but we hope it will provide some new listening experiences for everyone.

An excerpt from Boulez's Rituel:

An excerpt from Murail's Desintegrations:

Chen's Duo Ye

Thomas's Rush

Monday, April 2, 2012

The "Woman Composer" Revisited

In response to all the discussion on NewMusicBox recently about women composers, Natalie wrote a great post about affirmative action, women composers, and the new music scene in general. I'd like to focus on some of the points brought up in Amy Beth Kirsten's article. (I'd recommend reading the comments too- some of them are quite illuminating and make really interesting arguments, both agreeing and disagreeing with what I'm about to say.)

Kirsten's main argument is that we are living in a post-gender world. I respectfully disagree. As we've talked about many, many times on this blog before, until there are equal numbers of men and women studying composition, graduating from composition programs, being programmed on concerts, obtaining jobs in the field (whether in academia or not, including residencies, commissions, etc), we are certainly not living in a post-gender world. The new music world is absolutely getting better with regard to the number of female composers, but we are making progress at a snail's pace. Just because we're moving toward a goal does not mean we are anywhere near it. And I don't think anyone can argue that there are equal numbers of male and female composers doing all these thing-- so why are people continuing to argue that gender doesn't matter?