One of the joys of my life is to drive in the country with my lovely wife Nancy. In our travels, we invariably pass an abandoned or vacant building that still bears the signs and marks of the business it once housed. When this happens, I am always struck by the realization that each one of these was once someone’s dream. Whether a restaurant, or a Laundromat, or an auto repair shop, each was launched with great enthusiasm by someone filled with hope who imagined success and a comfortable income for his/her family.
Sometimes the business simply failed. Other times, it was perhaps passed down to a son or daughter who had no interest in maintaining the effort required to run it. Whatever the root cause for its demise, I salute the enterprising spirit of the individual and the dream that led to the effort.
We concert music composers are kindred spirits of these entrepreneurs. With each piece, we dream of creating a work so compelling that it nudges aside just a single one of the plethora of works by Dead White European Males (DWEMs) that fill the programs of symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles – a composition so enthralling that enraptured audience members call for – nay, DEMAND its immediate repetition! We dare to entertain the idea that, through publication, far-flung distribution and numerous performances, OUR work will someday enter the rarified air of the pantheon of “standard literature.”
For some composers, the dream becomes a reality. Others die surrounded by a lifetime’s accumulation of unpublished scores of unperformed works. But, like the abandoned buildings and fading signs, each carefully prepared score stands as a testament to the heartfelt dream of its composer.