Boston's Arts Brahmins

August 1, 2007


I may be wrong, but there seems to have always been a sort of Brahman character to the Boston/Tanglewood new music scene Ė a priest class operating a rarified cultural country club.  To be fair, I can hardly think of any place that isnít true in classical music, but there something about Boston that seems even worse.  (One example might be how Levin champions old fashioned modernists with the BSO even if many of the featured 38ers in the festival are not exclusively modernist.)

On the other hand, judging from a photo I saw, it seems that about half of the student composer fellows are women Ė a very positive development in my view.  Someone is to be commended for that.


And as usual the emphasis seems to be coastal, with the largest number of the included composers active in the Northeast.  Is there something about Kansas , Nebraska , Texas , Idaho , Wisconsin , and Oregon that makes composers mediocre?  I donít think so.  I think the composers in the heartlands are probably on average just as good, but that they do not have the career opportunities that the Northeast offers.

Could one say that the Northeast does not necessarily draw the best composers, but rather the most careerist composers?  Would it be fair to ask when will the heartlands have their own recognized musical establishment and thus get the coastal careerists off our backs?


Just a thought.


William Osborne