Composition

gottschalk arthurArthur Gottschalk, Rice University
CMS Board Member for Composition

The year 2012 started out nicely, with the Program Committee’s visit to San Diego in January. In addition to confirming that the future site of the 2012 national conference was all that could be hoped for, we made sure that the activities planned for the conference were of the highest caliber and that all areas of music were well represented. Upon returning, we had our annual board meeting in Dallas, and thoughts and plans immediately turned to the 2013 conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I worked closely with my colleague Deborah Nemko, Board Member for Music Performance, in establishing guidelines for composition submissions by the membership for the 2013 conference, and in particular for the excellent trios that she and her committee vetted and selected for performance at the conference. After that, Peter Park and I set about the task of preparing the guidelines for submission, for the trios and for the composer- provided performer opportunities provided during the 2013 national conference, which were duly published on the CMS web site and made available to the members. During the summer I responded to Board President Dave Williams’ call for strategic alliances by contacting Thomas Wells, Professor of Music Composition and Electronic Music at The Ohio State University and President of the Society of Composers, Inc. This was Tom’s last year in office, and he welcomed the opportunity to have SCI work closely with CMS, volunteering to be the first SCI-CMS liaison once his term expired at the end of 2012. To that end, he and I will address the national board and the membership of SCI on the last day of their national conference, in Columbus, Ohio, in February of 2013, during which we will discuss ideas for synergy and cooperation between the two organizations, which we can then bring to CMS for consideration.

Of course, the Fall brought the national conference with it, and what a conference it was! For our area, I was extraordinarily pleased with the quality of the performers who presented the composition concerts, and judging by audience reaction they were, too. Audience numbers for these concerts were remarkably high as well. Schlepping percussion equipment back and forth from the campus of San Diego State University to the San Diego waterfront and back again, numerous times, was nobody’s idea of fun, and there were a few minor glitches along the way, but we were very appreciative of SDSU’s generosity and Peter Park’s amazing logistical ability. Definitely a learning experience, and one that should travel well to our upcoming conference. However, I was personally unavailable to participate in the videotaping of the board and staff. Those of you yearning to watch video of me will have to resort to YouTube until this situation may be resolved.

After the conference the major workload kicked in for my committee – vetting pieces for the trios performing on the 2013 national conference, and selecting pieces from those submitted as composer-provided performer possibilities. My advisory committee, the hard-working and thoroughly responsible quartet of Edmund Cionek, Leslie Hogan, Malcolm Rector, and Amy Dunker, spent much of their winter break time perusing and puzzling over a plethora of PDFs and sound files, ranking each submission and providing commentary. I’d like to take this opportunity, and any others that I might have, to thank them for their attention to this difficult and laborious task. If there is a heaven for those who sacrifice their ears for the betterment of The College Music Society, they will surely lead the way there.

That about sums it up, leaving out all the little details that provide some of the fun and much of the work. I look forward to working this year, particularly on the nascent strategic alliance with SCI, and on improving performance opportunities for composers, and other opportunities for composer participation, within CMS. If any of the members have any suggestions whatsoever, I’d love to hear them; please don’t hesitate to email me.