What Motivates me more than anything else, what I wake up in the morning wanting to think about, and talk about, and engage in, is living composition. The people that are alive making art music, and especially, since I exist in this weirdly bi-polar existence, where, I’m the pop guy over there, with this history behind me, and I fully embrace that, I do all that , and it’s all me. And so is the Yellowjackets, Miles, Chick Corea guy, the guy who went to every Bill Evans show in Chicago, the guy who listens….. all of that is me. But then I’ve got this classical side over here, and what is it that really engages me about the classical community? And part of it is yes, I can go totally immersed in Lutoslawski and Kearne works, and become utterly in awe what genius I have witnessed. But what I want to think about on a day to day basis, are the people that are making it right now the people who are preventing classical music from being that dusty boneyard that a lot of people think it is. It’s a very good time to be interested in this. There is so much creativity, and it is being embraced so broadly, and one of the things that excites me so at this particular moment in time, the people who were relegated to playing in warehouses, loft spaces, and churches, are people who are making such vital work happen that big venues have to respond. All of this art is mobilizing upward at a faster rate that I’ve ever seen before.
I am really into the idea of discovery. There’s nothing more exciting than to have this feeling that there is this new thing, and it really grabbed my attention, and man it makes me just want to tell everybody about it.
There is not a litmus. It is not as if I am looking strictly for novelty, nor am I looking for the “next big thing” all the time, it’s really the thing that speaks to me, or the thing that has Cultural resonance, or is just going to make for an interesting idea, and an interesting critical take. What I’m looking for is signs of life, proof of my contention that contemporary art music is not only living, but urgent and vibrant and viable and in need of the kind of attention that I am paying to it. A lot of my emphasis on living composers comes out of that. It’s wherever I find the art that is mandating my attention.
Fitting something that seems like it should be categorized solely as jazz into a string piece that would easilty fit into a classical person’s rubric. It’s not a conundrum that makes it fall and fail, but that border is a frustration, but it’s not the worst problem. It means there is something new, something interesting and vital. The more the music forces us to confront it, the more they will seem to evaporate. They just have to. There are too many interesting projects out there.