Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Beware of classical music's viral circles
That is Rebecca Saunders in the photo. She is one of the foremost living British composers and I have been an admirer of her music since I broadcast her Rubricare for baroque string orchestra in 2007 on Future Radio. Now fellow composer Neil Tòmas Smith has drawn attention to the neglect of Rebecca Saunders' music at the BBC Proms - her works have received just one Proms performance and she has received no Proms commissions. This neglect in London may be because of her long-term residency in Berlin, which would be wrong if that is indeed the case. But I suspect there is a more insidious reason. She keeps a notably low media profile, which means a Google search for 'rebecca saunders composer' does not lead to a personal website or social media account. This reticence contrasts sharply with classical music's many viral circles in which members of self-interested cliques talk up each others work to mutual benefit. Musicians should be judged solely on their music. But making a lot of noise on social media creates an illusion of importance, and that viral circle opens many important doors. Including, apparently, those of the Albert Hall.
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