Robert Beaser on the Postmodern Composer

By admin / On Dec.01.2012 / In / Width 0 Comments

Robert Beaser

Robert Beaser's post in the New York Times expressed the bewilderment that artists have often felt when the cultural battles recede in importance. Aesthetic restrictions have been withdrawn, and artists are left to determine for themselves what is important to express, and how to express it. Below are some quotes from Beaser's post, The Reconstruction of Rome.

“A younger generation of composers, whom I teach and interact with regularly, are indeed wrapped up in the present time, and their battles appear far less black and white. One of the younger fellows at the academy last year said that his main struggle was the “creeping irrelevance of being a composer in the first place.” Composers today have complete access to the entire cosmos of sound and the means to deconstruct and reorganize it, without boundaries. Finally, everyone can be a composer. There’s an app for it!”

“When I go around the world giving master classes, I see every premise of composition practice under siege. Why do I need to write my piece short score before I orchestrate? Why do I need to learn counterpoint? Why do I need to listen to Toru Takemitsu? I write it this way because I like the way it sounds. How do you answer that?”

“For centuries composers have been reacting to the prevailing orthodoxies and shifting paradigms in response to them. What do we do now that there are no windmills to tilt at?” – Robert Beaser

His questions are ones worth considering. Are there still stylistic or thematic restrictions? Or does the market have a greater influence now? Please weigh in with your comments.

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