More Joy

I attended the American Music Center‘s annual award ceremony last night with Newman & Steve Bryant. It was a good schmoozy time, as always. It was great seeing Graham Parker — who was responsible for the original Redline Tango commission — and Richard Kessler — the former Executive Director of the AMC. I hadn’t seen either of them in ages. There’s a small handful of people to whom I feel completely indebted for any success I’ve had, and Graham and Richard are two of them. (Others, in no particular order, are David Parsons, Frank Wickes, and Scott Weiss & Scott Stewart. I’d also like to thank The Academy©.)

Another highlight last night was meeting Paul Moravec, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music. I saw him speak at last year’s ASCAP Awards, and I liked him immediately, but this was my first chance to speak to him. The crazy thing was that he approached me and introduced himself! It turns out that we have mutual friends in Antares, the ensemble for whom I wrote “Breakdown Tango.” (Their CD of the piece, by the way, is now available!) After talking about the greatness of Antares, the four of us started talking shop. Paul had advice for the three of us: Write more joyous music. Paul feels that modernism is dead, and that nobody wants to hear it anymore, and that us “young” composers should embrace joy in our writing. Hear hear, I say. Paul was preaching to the choir, but to drive his point home, he added — in jest — “and you should listen to me; I have a f*cking Pulitzer Prize.” We loved this guy. It’s great to meet a composer who is a major deal (a Pulitzer will do that, although Paul said he “couldn’t get arrested” a year ago), but is so down to earth and friendly and self-deprecating.

No word yet on my computer. Day after day, I pass by my desk with that ginormous monitor sitting on it, taunting me with its blank display. I’ll probably get the computer back just in time for my trip to Seattle on Friday. Grumble, grumble. But really, if that’s the biggest problem in my life at the moment, things are alright.


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