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Seize the Time

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This is a significant moment for practicing composers. There has been a strong trend towards fostering many genres and encouraging individual voices in a way that is inspirational and progressive. It could be more widely known. We need to aim at reaching the thirsty audiences who do support and feel part of the buzz generated by being part of a first-time experience. But we have to be visible, and be willing to advocate for our artistic heritage, to meet the media head-on and wax lyrical with focus and belief on the future of the sustainability of our work. This is a highly significant moment for the profile of new music in this country. How we are perceived as composers and contributors to contemporary culture is more important than ever and it is the time to stand up and be counted. We have practitioners who assert their wealth of knowledge and get their voices and point of views across. We need more. We can place ourselves within orchestral and within media contexts and advocate for our artistic heritage and we can speak to the thirsty audiences who support and identify with other contemporary arts. We can have a strong voice in the media advocating our work and the practice of new music and we can demonstrate that we too have the edge provide an exciting new world, which, everyone can embrace given the correct context.

So we as individuals need to address this very real issue head-on and do something about it. It is our reality and our problem and we’ve got to take it on board and make it a part of our work mission. There are already great fans but lets look at the way we are perceived there are also reams of followers of other arts disciplines who think that new music is a mystifying secret, so lets change that perception. Let’s find ways to make what we do real and not so alienating. We can tap into the enthusiasm embodied in reactions to these other contemporary artists. But to do so we need to acknowledge that the problem is there for us as individuals to solve. Call me an idealist but I believe that each personal strong voice can help change perceptions. We have a number of high-profile figures debating this reality and we need to continue to grab the public forum, create an environment for public debate and satisfy curious new-comers.
Deirdre Gribbin, December 2003

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© 2005 Deirdre Gribbin
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"To place a new work between these masterpieces was to measure it against giants.

Yet, extraordinary as it may seem, Deirdre Gribbin’s What the Whaleship Saw seemed every bit as mesmerising as the Haydn or Bartok."

Richard Morrison
June 2004 The Times