It is understood that classical music has a bad historical reputation for espousing ethnocentrism. However, most contemporary composers are also keenly aware of the pressing and dire events that have transpired over the past few years: COVID-19, climate change and social justice through anti-racism to name a few. Issues like these have served as inspiration for new works and important thematic materials that engage the audience by addressing current situations. These materials also provide important programmatic contexts for listeners and viewers because that helps them to understand the music. I also consider some of my works from 2020 as part of this important moment ofof creativity. When the COVID-19 pandemic began infecting the United States in March, for example, I started using that time to write acoustic and electronic works from home: pieces that candidly explored the fear and isolation associated with the effects of the virus and living in self-quarantine.
That last point brings me to other key questions, which I will address in a later post. How have contemporary composers managed their workflow by creating new pieces in these uncertain times of crises? Given the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and Social Distancing, how do composers and performers maintain contact in a virtual setting through advancements in technology? How can composers today maintain productivity and engage their audiences if physical concert venues (for the most part) have been closed for months?