Thread: Wynton Marsalis
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Wynton Marsalis

I was listening to a clip of an interview with John Adams today in which he was dissing pop culture. He said that the great divide in America today is between the classical world and pop. I've met Mr. Adams several times, praised him in front of the GM of the Met Opera for which he thanked me. I told him I was following his career since he was with ECM and he got a kick out of that because now he is the most performed composer in the world. But that divide is just so 1950s man. It is almost embarrassing to hear him say that.

He has a point because there is an anti-intellectual bias that exists in American culture and dare I say contemporary culture as a whole. And we know that the gross over-commercializing of our world, esp the art world, is really a problem. Everything becomes exploited, nothing is sacred and nothing has inherent meaning.

Today you have so many composer who have no interest in popular culture at all. I talked to a composer who was setting Bob Dylan lyrics for orchestra. he had never heard Bob Dylan, never mind the tunes he was setting. He just has no interest in it at all. I told him I thought that was bizarre and he should give it a listen. The greatness of guys like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven was that they embraced the culture as a whole. For Beethoven, all me would be brothers, not just the bourgeois brats who ran things, whom he hated. Nu jazz hip hop jazz is already been done, ten years ago. is it innovative? I don't think its chartering new musical grounds although it may be politically significant. That certainly doesn't mean that its not good and we shouldn't listen to it.


Marsalis gets a lot of money because he does a lot of education. That a no-brainer right there is your a writing proposals. It's also not just him now, but a host of people who will come though JALC. I really think that problem with public funding is that it creates a lot of bourgeois brats who have a lot of time to stick it to the working man who is paying their check. Let them write something that will make them a paycheck on their own. There is enough of an audience for any type of music, and it is your obligation as a composer to cultivate one. Who wants a bunch of composers who can't write music that any one wants to listen to. If you need money, write a film score. If you're a real composer that shouldn't detract from you latest master work. You get in trouble for saying that. Charles Ives worked as an insurance broker. Why should anyone pay your salary?

The more you talk to musicians the more you just get so tired of dealing with the BS. There is good music and bad music. And good music is what I like, and bad music is what I don't. And so I'm going to spend all my time rippin' on the bad music. It's all so old already. Hey, it's been done.
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 12-20-2010 at 04:17 AM.
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