What Does it Mean to Support New Music?
This is such an interesting question and it is something that I have thought a lot about over the last few years. When qPress begin in 2010 with the mission of connecting composers of new music to trumpeters and, ultimately, to audiences, it seemed like a fairly simple proposition. Of course, there are many factors that go into music’s ability to spread beyond the inner circle of the composer, and it has a lot to do with market forces and audience/consumer demand. Simply put for composers, if you make something available it won’t necessarily be played. Conversely for musicians, wanting to find great new music that matches your own taste can become a long term personal project of discovery. That begs the question:
What is qPress Doing to Help?
Since launching in 2010, we scour new music dissertations from top universities to find pockets of relatively unknown trumpet music and start the process of finding and initiating contact with those composers. Many are just uninteresting in publishing their music. Many are not organized enough to sort out the paperwork and learn about their rights as music copyright holders. There tends to be quite a bit of friction in the distribution process, even with an operation as small and nimble as a digital trumpet music publication service. We never stop contacting composers and discovering new compositions, but we have been asking what can be done to find composers who want their music performed but do not have the means to reach a new world-wide audience. Enter the:
Reveille International Composition Competition
My friends and I in the Reveille Trumpet Collective started an international trumpet composition competition in 2011 to try to find emerging composers and give them some motivation to write for the trumpet. We have offered large cash prizes and have brought in guest judges (Louis Ranger, Eric Beach) along with Reveille’s 5 members to write comments and adjudicate each round of the competition. As composers get constructive comments from a panel of professionals about writing specifically for our instrument, they are able to hone their compositions so they are more idiomatic and approachable by performers and audiences alike.
Winners have included emerging composers like David Lang, with his composition Song Without Words, and established professionals like the Canadian Brass’ Branden Ridenour with his piece Music for Trumpet and Djembe.
I am confident that making new music available to a wide audience, offering incentives for emerging composers to write for the trumpet, and fostering an online community of trumpet players is the key to slowly expanding the reach of the new music community. When quality new music is experienced, the reaction is universally positive. We just need to get the best of best in front of as many people as possible. qPress is here to help in any way that it can.
Do you have any ideas? Any wild thoughts? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear what you think.
Timothy Quinlan, Founder | qPress