By Christopher Fulkerson

CF's Composition Desk

Any time anyone advocates to their own advantage the idea that another person should work alone to deserve respect, they are promoting tyranny. The chiefest tyranny artists face today is due to the lack of patronage. The notion that to be credible an artist must make his own money is perhaps the crudest notion artists have to face on a regular basis.

If the situation of lacking help, whether or not in the form of patronage, is to be compared to the obvious encouragement of help when it is offered, then it is irrefutable that it is discouraging to lack help.    The tasks to be performed are not always even evident. And some tasks are not possible without help.   In music, most optimists are involved in popular music, where with effort and ingenuity it is possible to coordinate a half dozen or fewer musicians. But if you want to write an opera and get it produced, it is simply not possible to perform your task without lots of help. This is one of the many reasons music is tending away from the classical and artful to the popular and businesslike. Patronage is basically dead. The help that composers got in the past is not there now. Being a classical composer in America is like being a European born in exile in a foreign cemetery, that is located next door to a skating rink. You hear all kinds of enthusiasm going on by and for others, doing something other than you are doing trying to get out of the cemetery. All the people at the skating rink can do is invite you to join them. But if you are not interested in skating, your situation is discouraging. Maybe this is why I often post this picture of myself at Schoenberg’s grave.


Uploaded 2011. Page updated 3/13/2012.