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Topic: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

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  1. #1

    Unhappy OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    I recently wrote in my composition blog The Ear Is Always Correct about something that has been bothering me for some time.

    Has anyone else here noticed the large number of composition competitions with upper age limits of 30, 35, and 40? Does anyone here think this is a good idea? I understand encouraging very young writers with "young composers' contests. But once we get past the very young, why impose any age limit at all?

    It seems very clear to me that the best way of furthering the cause of new music is to find the very best new music being written by today's composers. If composers get better with age (as they indeed should) ignoring new music from older composers runs completely counter to the cause. How can we find the best music being written if we are not listening to music from our best composers?

    You can read the complete text of my article here.

    I'd be interested in your comments.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  2. #2

    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    Don't weep. The guys who invented this block aren't old enough for the necessary wisdom which comes with maturity.

    Raymond

  3. #3

    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    I've bemoaned this ridiculous state of affairs on several
    occasions, myself, Jamie.

    Composers develop at very different rates. Some are
    consistent across a long career. Some rise young but
    rapidly find themselves with nothing more to say. And
    others do their best work only later in life.

    While I agree it's very important to support and encourage
    younger voices, having a policy -- apparently across the
    board
    -- to uniformly enforce arbitrary and capricious
    limits on virtually all competitions that exclude writers simply
    on the basis of age constitutes undue discrimination and
    does more to harm composition than promote it.

    Best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  4. #4

    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    Well now I've never been a fan of composition contests or prizes. Prizes are fine for one's resume but really don't do much for the writing. I think the age limits are there to encourage younger people to maintain their drive to write - it probably doesn't have anything to do with "furthering composition" or "creating new music," - I believe those are different goals from what these contests are seeking.

    Plus, these contests are usually private money as opposed to public money and one may do whatever one wishes with one's private money; "unfair discrimination" is not an issue - they can discriminate as they please.

    I hope I didn't step on many toes here. BTW the Copland House award is open to all composers, I believe. They can't be the only one!

    Keep writing, don't give up, best of luck.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  5. #5
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    Well, other than for encouraging development of youthful talent, I have no interest in contests. In this matter, as in most, age is frequently looked upon as senile decay, rotted bodies and incapacitation. No one seems aware that not all old people degenerate mentally. It really rankles me when people defer to me because of my age. I mean, not the physical difficulties, such as picking up something I have dropped, but the patronizing manner of under-educated illiterates who treat me as mentally deficient because of my advanced age and who are so smugly proud of their ignorance.

    Here endeth my rant .
    Richard

  6. #6

    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    However the truth of the matter is that unless you actually WIN a few competitions and can put that in your resumé, your career is basically on hold.

    I may dislike competitions, but I am constantly faced with the roadbloacks put in my way by never having won one.

    Commissioning organizations, performing groups, etc... look to a composer's "dossier de prèsse" (prizes, press clippings, etc..) as an indicator of the "worth" of a composer. Whether this is valid or not is irrelevant, since these groups do it anyways.

  7. #7

    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    I actually think it sort of makes sense. A competition is only somewhat fair if you can ensure that the contestants are somewhat equal. I can't see many females winning in a general race in the Olympics. Records show that females and males can accomplish different records. Combining both sexes would only result pretty much in precluding women from winning.

    Do not that the above is not aimed as a sexist comment at the least and only serves as an example.

    While I would be proud to be battling with any composer out there, I fear I have little chance against... Boulez. Why would Boulez take part? For money, for more glory, for anything, why not? Composers are known to nurture themselves with competitions!

    Experience plays a mighty important part I say! If you have reached 50 (for example) and have not been able to get enough experience and live performances (which boost the experience hugely), then maybe you're not cut out for this. No matter how unfortunate, or how unfair it may seem a 50 year old should have his life taken care somehow, shouldn't (s)he? A 25 year old may very well count on a few competitions for a career.

    I'm getting pissed at the exact opposite actually. I don't know if many of you know SPNM (Society for promotion of new music, in the UK). Well each year you get a "call for works", which are anonymous and appear rather fair as it seems. No limits, not many rules, completely open. Well, when I see some 60 year olds winning a place and a chance for a career I feel somewhat aggrivated for the chance that a younger person lost. I mean, what will the 60 year old do? Live his dream? In expense of the 25-30 year old?

    _________________________

    I will be moving back to Greece very soon (there is another thread about the mishaps of my degrees... ) and I do know that I have to make a living. End of the line. Almost done with the PhD, 30 year old, can't be chassing this lucid dream of a career forever. If I can't make it by now, then I can't make it. Sure I'll keep writting music, playing music, maybe doing one two things here and there, but I'll stop the chasse. And this includes competitions as well. I will definately be busy with living my life, living my family and making a living. Too much on my plate...

    I hope I'm making sense

  8. #8
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas View Post

    Well, when I see some 60 year olds winning a place and a chance for a career I feel somewhat aggrivated for the chance that a younger person lost. I mean, what will the 60 year old do? Live his dream? In expense of the 25-30 year old?

    Should the 60 year old just give up and die? Why should the 60 year old be denied the chance to pursue his dream? At what age should we all give up and crawl into a corner?

    Richard

  9. #9
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    However the truth of the matter is that unless you actually WIN a few competitions and can put that in your resumé, your career is basically on hold.

    I may dislike competitions, but I am constantly faced with the roadbloacks put in my way by never having won one.

    Commissioning organizations, performing groups, etc... look to a composer's "dossier de prèsse" (prizes, press clippings, etc..) as an indicator of the "worth" of a composer. Whether this is valid or not is irrelevant, since these groups do it anyways.
    I certainly understand your point!! But that does not mean that I approve or like it. I just accept that things are that way, and not much will change it. But now and then I will squawk about it.

    Richard

  10. #10

    Re: OT - Age restrictions in competitions

    Quote Originally Posted by rwayland View Post
    Should the 60 year old just give up and die? Why should the 60 year old be denied the chance to pursue his dream? At what age should we all give up and crawl into a corner?

    Richard
    My sentiments exactly.

    Rob

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