Happy monkey is happy (and NOT a hypocrite)

Fantastic news here in Music vs Theater world! The San Francisco chapter of the American Composer’s Forum has seen fit to award me a Subito grant to help produce this weekend’s premiere of my song cycle (and other works)!

This is a huge deal, not only will it make it much more likely that we’ll be able to cover all the expenses (as well as pay the musicians closer to what they deserve), but with any luck, it will pave the way for future grants.

But, looking for the grey cloud behind this silver lining in this particular horse’s mouth, it looks like it’s time for me to revisit my post whining about how hard it is for new-ish composers to get arts grants. After all, can I still maintain that arts funding does more harm than good in the face of this new award?

Unfortunately, I kinda think so. Don’t get me wrong, I am very psyched about this grant and I’m thrilled that it is going to allow me some much appreciated financial breathing room in this production. However, I’m kinda exactly the sorta person who the grant system is rigged to benefit. I can fill out applications well, I’m pretty good at translating my artistic thoughts into prose, I’m not easily discouraged. I’m a naturally extraverted person who makes connections easily. I’d like to think that the quality of my work had something to do with getting the grant, but the fact that I was able to grit my teeth and apply to the program after being denied the year before was every bit as important. No application, no grant. Persistence counts. But is persistence indicative of a more worthy composer?

Of course, there’s no perfect system. The  good folks at American Composers Forum and The American Music Center and Meet the Composer all work tirelessly to support smaller composers (and I am, again, VERY grateful). It seems wrong headed to criticize them for a system that is not their doing. Grants are a flawed way to support the composer, but the free market may be worse.

Still don’t know what would be better…

In conclusion: