Saturday, March 12, 2005

Buy American Made Music

While I agree that the SF Symphony's recently announced 2005/06 season seems unspectacular and somewhat bland compared to what we have come to expect from MTT, the naysayers point to a lack of "American Music" as the new season's defining fault. Some of the complainers point out that they have only counted two American composers in the SFS's repertoire next year.

Ok. So what? Symphonic market protectionism?

Frankly, I enjoyed the various incarnations of MTT's American Mavericks Festival as much as anyone, as well as the debate that went along with it. But I do hope we, as Americans, will find a way of getting beyond this nationalistic afirmative action mind frame as far as American music.

Heck, there's good American music being composed all over the world. Even the Europeans seem to have overcome these outdated, old-fashioned notions about nationalism, and are avid consumers of new music by American composers. We live in global world, and compositional bean-counting is just plain silly. When it comes to artistic creation, indeed, the realm of ideas (to paraphrase MTT) is indeed a lot more interesting than pure statistics.

Which is not to say that MTT won't make questionable or misguided programming choices, but I would much rather see his choices assessed on their artistic merit rather than plain flag waving and "Made in America" advocacy.

© 2005 C. Chang

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