How Did We Ever Get By Without Justice?

I’ve been waiting for months for some kind of announcement, and I’ve seen nothing public about this at all. But through the grapevine I’ve long known that the Foundation for Contemporary Arts granted this year’s Robert Rauschenberg Award to Elodie Lauten and the John Cage Award to Phill Niblock. Both carry pretty large cash components. Week after week I watch a myriad groove-made, even-measured, monotonous, non-rhythmed, indoor-smelling, priest-taught, academic, post-adolescent, conservatory-trained hacks win every golden prize in the classical-music world’s milquetoast pantheon, and finally, two incredible, vastly underrated, true breathing genius composers win two well-named prizes worthy of them, and there seems to be no stir about it whatever. But I can’t think of anyone more deserving.


  1. Deborah Campana says

    Hey, Kyle:

    Not necessarily jumping out at you, but:

    and I guess you’ve got to go to the UK for this:




    KG replies: Yeah, I can Google too. So Esa-Pekka’s face stares back at me from every publication in Christendom, but if I want to hear about the John Cage award I have to read the Gallerist, the Wire, and Skanu mezs? I contacted Frank Oteri at New Music Box yesterday, and he had heard nothing about it. I had kept going back to the FCA’s OWN WEB SITE, which only lists the awards up through 2012. They’re a wonderful organization, but they should try a little harder to let people know it.

    • Deborah Campana says

      Is it a surprise to you that some not-for-profits have greater wherewithal to publicize than others?

      KG replies: I’m a little surprised that foundations with enough money to give out can’t afford to update their own websites. But I’m not at all surprised that when an Uptowner wins an award, the whole world trumpets it, and when Downtowners win awards, the classical music world goes, “Shhhh! It’s a secret!”

      UPDATE: And besides, these days, e-mailing an announcement to a press list is not really an expense. My undergrads publicize their concerts coast to coast and beyond. The FCA was surprised I didn’t get their press release, which I definitely didn’t. I think there was some snafu.

  2. Deborah Campana says

    And one more thought: if you have access to the press release information that the FCA evidently only sent to only a few select places and you have the audience that would certainly appreciate knowing this information, why didn’t you post it? Snarking about all those institutions does nothing. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the cause, I’m just saying…

    KG replies: I was not at liberty to publicize information given privately. I was waiting for a public announcement that never came, and I finally contacted the FCA directly. I was behaving ethically. Snarking? Not part of the solution? It appears I am almost the only solution.

  3. GW says

    The FCA has always kept their awards low-key. It has always been the intention of the founders, a small group of artists funding the FCA from their own pockets, to keep their decision-making process discrete as well, hence not accepting applications or nominations as well.

    KG replies: Well I’m extremely aware of that (discreet rather than discrete, anyway). Awards open to Downtowners – the Herb Alpert, the FCA, and the MacArthur – uniformly don’t allow applications or nominations. I realize you think I’m kind of an idiot, Gabor, and need to be told everything, and why you read my blog is a mystery. But in the past I have always heard who the FCA winners were.