Is there such thing as “grant music”? Eric Moe

Is there such thing as “grant music”? Eric Moe

Eric Moe

I doubt that “grant music” exists, and I’m pretty sure that I haven’t written any. It’s certainly possible to write an ingratiating piece, but what experienced composer would specifically target a competition jury rather than a performer or an audience?

Grants and competitions are such long shots, and who could even begin to guess what might affect the outcome of a group decision? Talk about chaos theory in action—anyone who has ever served on such a jury knows how unpredictable it is, how yesterday’s hot composer is today’s left-out-all-night-in-the-car leftover, how a new strange attractor can seduce a committee to their own next-day puzzlement.

It’s possible that distinctive utterance is less often rewarded than mediocrity—and it’s certainly comforting to think so when you get your rejection letter—but I think the lottery model is more persuasive.

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