Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Necessary Hubris

I've never read the very first entry of a blog before so I'm not quite sure how to begin. I suppose it might be useful (at least for me) to describe what I'd like to accomplish with this space. Then again, maybe I should just launch directly into a topic and pretend that this has been an ongoing endeavor. In some ways, the latter is more honest; less contrived.

Although I haven't been formally chronicling my thoughts and experiences for public consumption up to this point in my career, I have, nevertheless, been sharing them with anyone within earshot for years. My students are easy targets because, as captive audiences, there is little escape during class or composition lessons. But lately, as I have somehow moved out of that "emerging" stage of my career as a composer into "mid-career" status, I have felt the need to begin jotting down my ideas for a wider audience. I suppose I got the bug to start my own blog after a series of articles written for the American Music Center's NewMusicBox this past summer. For the AMC webzine, I had a very particular subject to cover. It's not as clear with this personal blog. Who am I and what can I possibly add to the chatter here in cyberspace?

Like most creative artists, it's a sometimes (okay, mostly) chaotic life I lead. I'm foremost a composer. However, I make my primary living within the confines of higher education as a music professor. I have run a new music ensemble for over 15 years, serving as artistic director and when necessity dictates, also serving as a conductor. I try to also perform as a clarinetist as much as possible. Not serious contemporary "art music," mind you, but mostly Greek folk music. (I'm the guy in the band performing at a Greek Festival as patrons, oblivious to the music and enjoying meat on a stick, casually walk by.) I am a third generation Greek-American raised in Atlanta and equally steeped in the cultures of Greece and the American deep south. On top of all the craziness found in dual careers in the arts and higher education, I have a big fat Greek life complete with lots of relatives, food and drama. I love to cook big messy complicated meals for as many guests my wife will allow me to invite over to our home. I'm a father, a son, a husband, a brother, a teacher, a student, a cook, a performer and a sinner trying to do better day by day.

And all of this - plus more - gets poured into my compositions.

So this will be a big fat Greek messy blog mostly about composing. It's another composer creating another blog that no one asked for. Hubris on my part? Absolutely. But for one composer amid a perpetually growing throng - a necessary hubris.

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