Music Czar for a Day

by AL BENNER

If I could be music czar for a day, there are certain things I would change:

I would end the "feud" between the academic and independent composer. I would also infuse more tolerance of each other in both camps. I would have them realize that by helping each other, they also help themselves.

I would have a work judged on its musical merits--is it well-written, interesting, skillful--rather than whether if it is "tonal" or "serial." Then I would have composers at conferences who write one way or the other acknowledge to other composers if it was a good piece--and mean it--rather than ignore composers who donít write in their "style."

I would have more conferences where the performers choose the works they want to play rather than where the concert organizers chose for them. Of course, if that were the case, we probably wouldnít hear a lot of the pieces we do hear at conferences.

I would have composers be more critical of their own works. Did they really work on the pieces, or were they just some last minute exercises to get something on a program.? Is the piece worthy of being heard?

I would have colleges or universities acknowledge receipt of applications and, even more important, respond when an applicant is no longer being considered. Too many institutions now never respond to either, leaving the applicant to wonder "what happened?"

I would have royalty organizations and those institutions and individuals who give concerts work better together. I realize that having most performances through an academic institution puts us in a different category for crediting those performances--but I am convinced that too many performances are "slipping through the cracks."

Since that is a lot to accomplish in one day, I will rest by going to a concert of 20th-century music where the performers play the pieces with the same zest and zeal with which they tackle earlier period works. Now--where do I apply? ?