About 10 years ago I had a conversation with a composer that went like this:
“What do you want to be?” I asked.
“A famous composer.”
“Who is the most famous composer of concert music alive today?”
“OK. Let’s say I give you Corigliano. Do you realize how many music majors have never heard of Corigliano? There isn’t such a thing as a ‘famous’ composer any more. Do you know who the most famous composer of orchestral music alive today is?”
“John Williams. Do you want to write the kind of music John Williams writes?”
“Well, then our best bet as composers is to take the attitude of the Baroque church musicians. We should write the best music we know how to write for the people around us and fully expect that when we die, our music will be packed up in the back of the church, used occasionally, but largely forgotten. If wider recognition happens, fine. If not, fine.”
I’m not sure I always live into that principal as well as I should, but I found someone who has. Connie Backus Yoder is an artist that attends St. Mark’s on the Campus. Now, Connie happens to be a gifted writer, composer, and amongst other things, a talented seamstress. I was stunned this week when Connie gave me a quilt that she had made for me. She had me draw a design on a piece of paper about 4 years ago, and she turned it into the beautiful quilt that you see above. Connie just makes quilts for people out of sheer love. That is an amazing thing, and it is the sort of attitude I would like to cultivate in my own life.
You can see more of her stuff here. http://www.conniesplace.com/