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Canadian Wisdom

For me, the highlight of last week’s annual junket to Chicago was a beautiful dinner with The Boys (can’t go anywhere without them in Chi-town, and that’s kind of the whole idea), esteemed composer Mark Camphouse (many thanks for the kind words, Mark!), the great Gary Green of the University of Miami, and beloved composer of the world, Michael Colgrass. $50 bottles of wine (gee thanks, Gary!) bring out the best in dinner conversations, and this was no exception—my conversation with MC was one of those you remember. The subjects were composer-consortiums, out-of-the-box commissioning models, print and rental percentages, and other wonky composer topics. I loved every minute of it. Many thanks, gents, for that Dinner for the Ages…

On another topic, I am far too late (as usual) to talk about last week’s Juilliard alumni (“Ten Years Later”) article in the Times, but I’ll give it a shot: Suffice it to say I felt it wasn’t exactly informative, and actually kind of misleading. They kept insisting that over half the grads aren’t musicians anymore, but when you look at their numbers, what they mean is that they aren’t doing full-time performance anymore. About 75% are still musicians, they are just teachers, and freelancers, and therapists, and many other fields involved in music. Just slightly twisted to make a more shocking story. But President Polisi’s interview helped keep matters clear, at least for me. The gist: The undergrads are 18 when they start. At 18 you’re barely a fully formed human, let alone a thinking adult who knows what you want to do for the rest of your life. It’s amazing that 75% are still involved in music at all methinks.

There are follow-up articles, apparently part of a whole “Juilliard” series (brace yourselves)—so after a deep inhale, I’ll attempt to comment over this holiday week. Cheers and Happy Holidays to all!

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