2016 was an unusual year for me. It is strange to think that since 2008, I have had at least one composition premiered and that streak had ended in 2016.
At first, I thought this was a sign of my career starting to fall apart due to my studies as an arts administration major. In some ways, it had been. During most of this year, I have not composed as much as I have wanted to, although it was not because I had lost interest in writing. If anything, my desire to compose grew so much that I wondered why did I really go back to graduate school as something other than a composition student. I felt like an outsider in both worlds of administration and composition.
That was until May when I moved to Chicago, IL to work as an administrative intern for Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, and Ensemble Dal Niente (more information on my responsibilities as their intern in this post. During the three months in Chicago, I finished my first composition of 2016, Why is This? for solo violin (will explain the meaning of the piece in another blog post). Shortly after finishing Why is This?, I took a brief break and explored Chicago’s beauty. From the Ravinia Festival to Hyde Park, I was enthralled by everything Chicago had to offer. I was also blown away by some of the greatest performances of new music I had ever witnessed. Not only in performance, but the approach and commitment that was displayed!
One evening, I sat on the edge of the lake fill across the Patrick G. & Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts and I had an epiphany. I realized that my music since 2011 was inspired by a common idea: transitions and connections. With the exception of A Quest for Tuba, all of my music from 2011 were based on events that had happened to me personally: Saxophone Concerto was inspired by my time applying for graduate school, The Two Siblings was somewhat based on my relationship with my brother Edward Goodman, Calm was indirectly based on my struggle handling the end of a seven year relationship (even though the text is supposed to be a parody covering the actual meaning), and now my current project Skyline is based on my experiences in Chicago.
Since then, I believe I have truly found my voice as a composer. I see myself as a composer for the people: a composer who not only composes with artistic merit, but one with the desire to build a “bridge” that connects audiences to art. While I realize many people might have not had the same experiences as me, I believe that to some capacity, they can relate to them from someone else’s perspective for better or for worse.
As I am typing this post, I am glad that it had been difficult for me to compose at the time. If this was not the case, I probably would not have had that epiphany.
May 2017 be in your favor.