Gosfield’s advice for young composers

Posted on: December 7, 2009

Saturday (12/5) on the New York Times online section Opinionator, vanguard composer Annie Gosfield writes, “Back in October I was interviewed by Cornelius Dufallo, a fine violinist who recently performed a piece of mine. He sent me a list of questions, the last being, ‘Any advice for young composers?’ The question took me by surprise—wasn’t I a young composer, too? When did I make the transition to not-so-young composer? Every day I have moments when I feel like a young composer: I struggle with starting projects, experiment with unfamiliar techniques, and deal with interpersonal challenges. There are so many times when I feel like I lack a manual in my day-to-day life. … The occasional impossible aesthetic decision can seem easy in comparison. Truth is, if I had the answers to all of the questions, my life would be a lot less interesting. Looking for the answers and keeping an open mind is what keeps it exciting. … As the decades pass, there’s nothing I’d like more than to be a young composer trapped inside the body of a grand old lady.” Gosfield offers up advice to composers just starting out, from not taking oneself too seriously to not fearing rejection to allowing oneself to be “led down the garden path” of experimentation.

Posted December 7, 2009