Baby boomers inherited a world that believed deeply in the value of the Western canon, and now inhabit a world that holds that canon responsible for many of our culture’s ills. One belief for childhood, the opposite for adulthood.
Artists can create based on their beliefs. They can work within the assumptions laid out by the standards of the past in the belief that they are participating in something greater than themselves. Or they can believe those standards run counter to the purpose of art, and strike out on paths resistant to those traditions.
But art doesn’t always proceed in this manner. Sometimes art occupies a position outside of belief — or maybe it is more accurate to say that art can use beliefs for its own ends. It’s possible to create art that wonders at the way beliefs can swing between opposite poles in a single lifetime. Art as the sea, rather than the tide.
A lot of my work – not all, by any means – has arisen from these shifts in perspective. It’s an interesting place to be, astride opposing shores, understanding the value — living the value — of each side. In the best scenario, the resulting work can bristle with conflicting desires.
I am in the midst of an extended break from composing. I completed two works at the end of the winter – an orchestra piece and a brief song – and have done little more than doodle since. I have a number of pieces I could dive into at any time, but I am enjoying taking the long view for a while, and I plan to continue doing so indefinitely.