The Curating Composer, a research paper for composers

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Today, we are pleased to share a new research paper, The Curating Composer, written by Will Dutta, our Co-Head of Artist Development.

What skills might composers and performers need to make things happen, sustain careers and enable a grassroots ecology to thrive?

In this exploratory paper, Will Dutta presents the curating composer as a new role in 21st century music making with a distinct set of practices. He offers a new model of aesthetic and entrepreneurial leadership for composers and performers entering the profession today.

The Curating Composer speaks to practitioners and educators alike for the contemporary contexts of the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests necessitate a radical reappraisal of who gets to make culture and mediate cultural production. Furthermore, in just 20 years rapid technological change has shattered professional infrastructure and at the same time we are now facing up to the astonishing scale of digital culture.

In this deep dive, Will brings together original research gathered in his doctoral studies at Trinity Laban and experience of working with composers at Sound and Music, to start a conversation about the self-producing skills creators and recreators need to successfully navigate what has become a bewilderingly fragmented landscape.

Speaking about the new paper, Will Dutta says:

‘The grassroots ecology is the foundation stone of the music industry. It’s taken a massive hit over the last 18 months so it’s more important than ever that composers and performers are supported and equipped to create their own opportunities.

With so much rescheduling of activity to come and competition for funding so fierce, I hope this paper sparks ideas and encourages others to apply their creativity to regenerating local scenes and communities. Now is the time to bring about a more equitable cultural recovery.’

There will be chances to continue this conversation in the autumn with Sound and Music’s New Music Labs series. To register your interest in these free, virtual and interactive lab sessions, sign up at:

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