On cultural context for one’s work

What hope can I have for my own work as a composer, if the artistic voices that I look up to remain largely unknown around me? How could I establish a meaningful communication with performers, curators or audiences if we don’t share some important cultural references? How can I avoid creative asphyxiation if the artistic expressions that I identify with have no space in the local milieu?

Selfishly speaking, it is in my best interest that the musical environment I am surrounded by is not oblivious to the –by now classic– work of composers such as Xenakis, Ustvolskaya, Lachenmann, Estrada, Spahlinger, Billone, Lim, Dillon, etc. not to mention a long list of composers closer to my own generation (MorishitaHanckeFlenadyJohnsonAbbasi, Zaldua, and Codera, to mention just a few essential names that quickly come to my mind.)

Those reasonably familiar with both my music and that of the composers mentioned above will know that mine is quite different from theirs; about as much as they are different from each other. However, I like to think that we do share at least some general direction of intellectual preoccupations, aesthetic sensibility, and historical awareness, which makes me feel some degree of identification with those names. Only when there’s some general understanding of this way of conceiving contemporary music can I aspire to my creative efforts having a context wherein to flourish.

All this to say that as much as I’d like to see my own music programmed more, I also dream of collaborating with performers, ensembles, festivals, etc. in the programming of other musics that I find intellectually and aesthetically stimulating; be it by conducting, coaching, offering pre-concert talks, writing programme/liner notes, or simply by sharing our passion for this music over a long chat and a drink now and then.

Any takers?

 © Pedro Alvarez, 2018