But, I play the bassoon.
It’s a problem sometimes. Playing bassoon isn’t really conducive to being a rock star. Lady Gaga is not surrounded by bassoonists. Though, in my own little wish-world, she totally would be. But I want to wear ridiculous clothes, hop around stage, and play to a crowd of hundreds. Orchestral playing just doesn’t do it for me.
Don’t get me wrong– I love the orchestra. I love Brahms, Mozart, and All The Rest. I try my best to play Weber like a champ, and hope to god that my Mozart Bassoon Concerto doesn’t sound like trash when I play it. I like to play the cute little French pieces with all of their wit and charm. Francaix puts a smile on my face almost every time I hear it.
But I wanna be a rock star. And this is why I play new music.
When NPR published it’s list of the top 100 Composers under 40, I jumped on it. I pulled every composer up into my computer screen and prayed for a piece for bassoon. Wished fervently for a piece that would blow my mind. A piece I just had to get my hands on. I type in “avant garde classical composers” into google every once in a while, just to see what comes up.
But people don’t get it. Peers, Teachers, my mother….they don’t understand why I get so excited over this stuff. My favorite quote is from my mother (who is not musical in almost any way), “Why can’t you play something we’ve heard before?” lol That’s just it though. Why would I want to play something people have heard before? It’s like yelling out “Freebird” at a rock concert all night. This artist has done something new, and exciting, and you want me to play Mozart all night?
I just want to stand on stage, and make you rife with feeling. I want to put you on edge, and make your soul blaze. I want to feel just as uncomfortable playing as you do listening.
I had a little undergraduate student tell me today that playing new music was useless. It broke my heart. I wanted to say something witty and soul-crushing back to him, but held my tongue. It’s such a privilege to play, period. But to have the composer sitting in the audience, listening to your interpretation of their thoughts…..why wouldn’t anyone want to experience that? Composers have as much right to be heard as we have to play.
And that’s why I wanna be a rock star. I don’t want to play covers all night! I want to play new things, with new people, and see the looks on people’s faces, when the first note out of the box is the ugliest multiphonics the composer can think of. I want to play jazz, klezmer, or bulgarian ocarina and bassoon ballads, and do it while kicking a balloon into the air! I want to challenge people. I want to challenge myself. I want to rock out! Now….go write me a piece!