Re: floride

Subject: Re: floride
From: James Paul Sain (
Date: Fri Sep 17 1999 - 23:00:03 EDT

Paul Steenhuisen said:

>hello again, the oxygen-to-fire factor with regard to statements made here
>is bewildering.
>not only has it never been mentioned that this festival shouldn't exist,
>but never was it stated that academics have unlimited resources for travel
>having spent most of my adult life in an academic setting, i'm well aware
>of that. and having been a presenter of electroacoustic concerts for ~5
>years on a budget of zero, am also well aware of funding issues. the point
>within all of this remains, however, that one's inability to get to florida
>eliminates the possibility of having a good, well-presented performance.
>anyone can indeed do what they want with their own festival, but, in
>principal, it sucks that not being present eliminates the prospect of
>performance. taking into consideration the pros and cons of the (chosen)
>status of being a freelance concert-music composer and a composer in the
>university setting, i'm sure many unafiliated composers wish they had the
>$2000 of their own money to pay for the travel. all is not equal in that
>regard. having said that, i am speaking from a position of moderate luxury
>rather than sour grapes, since in my post as composer in residence with the
>toronto symphony orchestra, my own travel expenses are covered. with the
>many obstacles already present in trying to get excellent music performed,
>it's unfortunate that another one such as this could prevent a good piece
>from being played in what is by many accounts a good setting. that's all,
>and it remains valid, as valid as the fact that those defending the
>festival and its regulation are those in advanced positions with likely
>greater financial resources than those disputing it. in other countries
>i've listened on numerous occassions to the same complaint made about this
>festival, and while different people complain about it each year, i'm sure
>just as many don't bother submitting their work, for financial reasons.
>obviously some of the composers who have been present in the past are
>important in the development of our field and have made great
>contributions, but the person who is squeezed due to this policy is likely
>the young punker who sunk all her money into a home studio and is trying to
>cut it on her own. this energy is what will keep it all going in the long
>run. i've never submitted a work for consideration at this festival, and
>while i hope for nothing less than success in your floridian festival, i
>also hope that there do emerge festivals which are less financially

Though you never outright state the festival shouldn't exist or that
academics have unlimited resources, you implied such through your verbage.
Such implications can lead to miscommunication and ill feelings. With the
numerous obsticales we all face in the furtherance of ea/cm, the last thing
needed is to bad mouth each other.

I don't know how many times the point must be made (or how I can be more
clear). One last time - no funding from the festival. As much as I would love to be the solution to
all the worlds funding problems for the arts, alas, I just continue to
provide a venue where those of like mind can share their work with an
audience and each other. Perhaps, with your connections to a major
symphony orchestra and the funding sources available though those
connections, you could build this perfect festival you envision. We could
certainly use more performance possibilities for electroacoustic music. An
added bonus to the participation requirement is it puts a "face" to our
art. Thus, giving audiences a point of entry into our kind of music.

I too, even with my "ivory tower" position pass on many performance
opportunities as my salary is stretched thin with a wife and two young
children (with a doctorate, tenure, promotion, and all I still make less
than former students that received a BS in electrical engineering or
computer science). Like you and many others, I'm doing the best I can to
promote ea/cm and participate in the community of composers.

It's not perfect. It's the best I can do. I will continue to do the best
I can. I prefer to put my energies in a more positive direction and not
spend so much time complaining on how it should be. Onward to FEMF9 and
the celebration of the new millennium (and to teach a few classes sure would be great to have a composer-in-residence gig).

This is about all I care to say on this subject.


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