Re: (non)academic music and gender issues, etc

Subject: Re: (non)academic music and gender issues, etc
From: Anna Rubin (
Date: Sun Jul 18 1999 - 13:43:33 EDT

I appreciate Hannah's comments very much. And they relate to Tom's question
about where do students hear about avant-garde now? What is 'mainstream' is
up for grabs. Any one composer may dip into more conventional and less
conventional postures, music contexts (I'm thinking varieties of venues from
stage to web); may reference other cultures and low-to-high art traditions,
etc. With all of this dissolution of traditional genres and definitions,
there's tremendous anxiety and fear -- will my kind of music continue to
count, to be respected? I don't exempt myself from this fear. I see most
of us struggling with the issue of what is the social/political/material
context in which our work fits?

Cultural and institutional power, prestige and money are crucial to this
discussion. At times I see people sliding around these questions but
frankly, I see most composers as obsessed with the big three - no different
from stockbrokers, butchers and politicians. I think the question of
aesthetics cannot be wrested away from the actual power relationships
inherent in whatever music we are discussing. It's interesting to note in
this regard, that it took many years for Pauline Oliveros' contributions to
the avant-garde to be documented and included (and is still not as well
known) though her work IMV is as revolutionary as Cage's. And Pauline's
model of inter-dependent community of musicians, spanning styles, ethnic
backgrounds, etc. is an inspiring one to study. Best, Anna Rubin

Anna Rubin, Dept. of Composition, Bibbins 213
Conservatory of Music, Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH 44074 (440) 775-6155

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