Photo by James Cridland. CC-A.
Photo by James Cridland. CC-A.

Dear composers,

You’re probably wondering why I gathered you all here today.

Some of you are probably pretty irritated; you were likely doing extremely important things, and here’s this under-the-radar composer calling you to the internets for a meeting. I’m sorry for the inconvenience; but I promise we’ll be brief.

Let me cut right to the chase: we’ve got a problem with competitions.

I can see some of you already heading for the door. Okay, so it’s not news. We hate competitions. It goes against what it means to be a creative artist to try to be the best creative artist. The time we spend proofing our scores for tiny collisions, double-checking guidelines to make sure we submit by certified mail and not registered mail, and filling out forms that certify that yes, this poet did die in 1803 is all time we could spend writing new music. Competitions are a distraction from making art and a wedge in a community that should be sticking together. And really, they’re unnecessary to making a career in composition if you’re smart and easy to work with.

So, if you’re one of those composers who doesn’t participate in competitions, you can go. Thanks for coming.

The rest of you – the composers who enter competitions – we need to talk.  (more…)