Sunday, June 09, 2013

Ageism in Composer Opportunities

In Bill Doerrfeld's NewMusicBox post from June 5, he mentions that:
There are various examples of 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations who accept tax-deductible donations and who discriminate based on age even when it is not within their organizational mission statement to do so. For example, one organization sponsoring a composer opportunity states their mission as follows: “Our mission is to enrich the cultural vitality of the region and to offer a unique experience to exceptionally talented musicians.” However, they limit composer submissions to those under the age of 35. Looking at their mission statement, one has to ponder whether or not it is possible for an older emerging composer to “enrich the vitality” of the community. This is but one example of a disconnect between an organization’s mission and their policies, and one which I believe hampers musical progress.
I agree.

Composers in their 50s were once thought of as being in the prime of life. There is a mistaken idea that people over 40 should step aside and let younger composers have the chance to have their music heard. Perhaps it's part of the mistaken idea that people who don't "make it" before the age of 40 will never "make it" (whatever "making it" is). A future dominated by an idea like that would be sad indeed.

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