questions about composing from james combs


The composer James Combs shot me an e-mail yesterday asking some interesting questions, such as when did I start composing, how do I find the time (I don’t—it finds me), etc. and he was kind enough to post it on his blog. James is based in Seattle, and has also done a nice interview with my friend Steve Layton. Anyway, James asks some very good and difficult questions, and I’m not sure I had the best answers for them. One question he didn’t ask, and I’m glad he didn’t, is why did I start composing in the first place? I definitely don’t have any good answer for that one, and suspect most of us don’t have any clue why we developed this compulsion.

James gets it. His music, which one can find on his MySpace page is really nice stuff, and one of the valuable attributes of the Web is its ability to enable fellow travelers to find one another’s work. There is no way that James or anyone else in the new music community would likely have found my music without the Internet, and vice-versa. Makes me wonder if the music of Ives or Scelsi or Nancarrow might have received earlier and more widespread listeners had the Internet existed in their eras.