Composers can be seekers and finders too?

Neil writes, “Why are there no composers?” in — “there are plenty of good subjects among composers.”

Little work has been done on the subject of experimental vs. conceptual innovators among composers. Readers are invited to suggest specific composers, especially citing the age at which they did their best work and whether they had other characteristics of seekers and finders.

In the ArtsJournal blog “Post Classic,” Kyle Gann picked up the topic:

“I suggest applying this typology to composers with some caution. The issues may be different, who knows? But certain examples will spring to mind. We have some Conceptual Innovator composers with explosive early careers, forever best known for one or a handful of precocious early works: Stravinsky, Antheil, Cowell, Messiaen.

“Easier to call to mind are those Experimentalists who developed their music later in life, with no particular work standing out: Shostakovich, Sessions, Partch, Carter, Feldman. I’m tempted to type Ives and Copland as conceptualists, but the later date of some of their best works militates against it.

“Perhaps music has some aspects of technical acquisition and performance vicissitudes that require some alteration of the time line. It’ll be fun to do some study and find out.”


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