Alex Taylor

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride [00:00:04] So I was, was born in garland. I grew up in a hat. Well, my first few years were in a house and Elgin Street and Garland, and then moved to Nelson for a couple of years, and then moved back up to Oakland when I was about five went to school in Davenport. And then so Devonport, primary, dominant, immediate, and then was like boys high school, I was brought up by lesbian parents, my mom's a lesbian. And Vicki and Trish my two months really brought me up. And so I've sort of hit head that from my upbringing from from the very start. And I've younger brother, we were both part of a four person family with two months. And that was kind of that's kind of where I, where I come from. [00:00:54] I've heard other people say, in particular, lesbian parents talking about the children. Actually, the children actually had to deal with quite a lot of kind of bullying at school because of the fact of their parents being lesbian. I mean, did it affect you like, [00:01:09] it was not over. But there were times when I had to deal with it. And it was kind of maybe something that I didn't necessarily tell people unless they were good friends. [00:01:24] And some people who knew said would say things about it sometimes, or [00:01:31] I suppose there was an element of that, but [00:01:34] I wouldn't say it was particularly over bullying [00:01:41] never became a really big issue, but it was kind of always there. [00:01:46] Can you describe yourself as a child? [00:01:50] precocious theory, [00:01:55] teachers pitch creative, kind of like like to dress up like to collect things, right list of things. Draw paint, [00:02:10] write poems, [00:02:13] was very active and very happy by myself. I suppose [00:02:17] I didn't become a very social person until I was a teenager. I didn't I mean, I'm still kind of solitary person sometimes. But I think as a young kid, I was I, you know, there was some I wasn't [00:02:34] the most social person at primary school, I had a bit of bullying. And [00:02:39] you know, I was I was the brainy kid. I had Kelly here. I had a runny nose sometimes. So I was kind of like, you know, I got picked on a bit sometimes. And [00:02:49] yeah, I think I enjoyed my own company and a lot as a child, but also. [00:02:55] Yeah, I think I grew to be more sociable later on. [00:03:00] So that kind of bullying what, [00:03:02] how did that affect you? I'm not sure. [00:03:08] I guess it took me a while to kind of [00:03:14] trust people as friends. [00:03:18] I guess. [00:03:20] I was [00:03:22] probably sometimes suspicious of why people would want to be my friend. And sometimes people just wanted to copy my homework or, you know, things like that. [00:03:32] And you're saying, from an early age that you were into creative activities, we do think that kind of creativity comes from [00:03:40] I've always just liked making things, I [00:03:45] probably one of the first creative things that I learned to do was to Fold paper to make origami. I went to an after school care program, and was taught how to make paper cranes and various other things. And I started going to the library and getting origami books out of the library and teaching myself how to make various things and and you know, I still do origami now. And one of the most fun things to do it's not really actually very creative, because you're just following a set of instructions. But I think the the act of making things really stayed with me. And so that was when I was about five and then at the same time, I was learning the recorder and then the violin and later all the instruments and yeah, I guess I yeah, just like to create things and express myself and wise, maybe other than just talking to people. Yeah. [00:04:42] So tell me how you came to composition? Because obviously it's one thing playing an instrument but actually, [00:04:48] yeah, well, I think [00:04:50] I think I came to composition sort of gradually. [00:04:56] I probably the first thing I can pose was it at primary school. I had a teacher Chris parks at Devonport primary school who ran the school orchestra and we did a sort of group collaborative composition project as part of the hundred and 25th year celebration of Devonport primary school. So we all get to compose little chunks of material somehow I don't know how he did it, we must have improvised together and, and written down, you know, a few bars and music each. And then somehow Chris, you know, formed this thing into into one homogenous whole, and probably not homogenous, but into a whole thing. So that was probably my first experience of composition. And then at high school, probably got into a little bit more, started writing pieces for specific instruments and things and then went to university at high school did a whole lot of things probably could have done anything University decided that I would do English in music, because I wanted to be I wanted to write I also wanted to write music. And that was when I really got into to music properly. I think when I started hearing this [00:06:09] hearing contemporary music properly, I guess I was familiar with [00:06:14] a little bit of the standard rip stuff. [00:06:18] But I hadn't really come across sort of live performance of what you might call edgy or contemporary music. And I was really excited by that. So I think that maybe first couple of years of university was really formative in terms of I actually want to create something that's challenging and slightly different in ag in maybe pushing a few boundaries. Yeah. [00:06:48] You mentioned hearing music properly. Can you talk to me about what I mean? What does that mean? [00:06:53] Yeah, um, so I guess, you start when you start studying music, you [00:07:01] are exposed to all sorts of different [00:07:05] materials and music and you're forced to reassess how you actually listen to music. Up until university, I suppose I was listening to music as entertainment or as background music, or as something to sing along to. But I think that that changed and you kind of have to listen more attentively. When you're, when you're wanting to create music, you know, you you focus on the details of how its constructed how how you kind of are aware of how the music is interacting with you, and how you're interacting with the music, how you're how you are as part of an audience or how you are as a performer. And also, being a performer changes how you listen as well. So a different angle that I've also had [00:08:02] running alongside the competition is awful is running alongside your competition, but but your sexuality, can you tell me a wee bit about that and how you kind of have come to your sexuality? [00:08:14] Yeah, I suppose I've probably known I was gay since I was 12, or 13. High School. [00:08:23] But it took me a long time to kind of come to terms with it. And I suppose I didn't start to come out until I left school. [00:08:34] I had quite a close group of friends at high school, [00:08:39] who I didn't tell about my sexuality. And then after you know that, you know, when I went to university, and whether I told some people or they found out about it, that I sort of drifted away from that group of people. And that was sort of an unfortunate thing. But I suppose it's been a gradual? Well, I suppose it's a it's a continual process for most people to come out, you know, you sort of have to come out to every person you meet, really, at some at some point in time. [00:09:11] So it's been a year, it's been a gradual process. But I guess the process started. [00:09:18] At the end of high school, when it just, I think High School for me was quite, I enjoyed his high school immensely, but it was a really difficult place to be an outgoing person at an all boys school that was quite traditional. And there was lots of homophobia. It was like, and that Yeah, I found that that quite difficult when people would just kind of [00:09:50] were casual, you know, kid just casually, [00:09:54] just casually homophobic and all aspects of school life. So yeah, it took me a while to kind of get through that and [00:10:05] just kind of be comfortable to talk about it. [00:10:08] Yeah. At high school, were you aware of other out students? [00:10:13] They were maybe one or two. [00:10:16] There was no one in my ear, who was who I knew. That was out. There were a couple of people who [00:10:25] weren't, we're not out who I knew were gay. [00:10:29] But not people I was close to. [00:10:32] And what about things like, Gay Straight alliances and stuff? and schools or anything? Like, [00:10:38] not at my school? It wasn't really. [00:10:42] I mean, there was a school counselor, and I didn't actually ever go to school counselor, which is probably I probably should have, I should have probably taken advantage of that. But in, there was never, it was never discussed as an issue at school, which I think looking back is really [00:11:03] shocking. Anyway. [00:11:05] I guess the headmaster was a Catholic guy, you know, very staunch Catholic, and wasn't a Catholic school, but he kind of promoted the whole school ethos. And [00:11:21] I don't think that kind of [00:11:24] factored into. There was a lot of talk about sort of [00:11:30] manliness and going into a man and, you know, we would always be addressed as young men. But there was never a discussion and sexuality. Yeah. [00:11:41] And just to put in a wee bit of context, and What year are we kind of talking [00:11:46] as far as a high school from 2001 2005? [00:11:50] And when people were, were kind of casually being homophobic, I mean, what does that entail, but give me some examples? [00:12:00] Well, there was a lot of, of teasing of people who might have seemed [00:12:06] lyst butcher, mainly than, than others, people who didn't engage in sporting activities was that was really big on rolling and cricket and rugby. I mean, I played sport, and I really enjoyed playing sport. [00:12:21] But there were people who didn't enjoy that so much. And [00:12:26] you know, all your failure, your associate or your career or whatever. [00:12:33] Just because, you know, enjoy reading books, are you. You don't want to take part in the rugby game at lunchtime, or whatever reason. And there was also a running alongside that there was this kind of, lighten, homoeroticism, that, you know, boys would quite enjoy kind of making fun of each other, but like touching each other, and you know, that that sort of thing. It's quite a it was quite a strange environment, because you will never Well, I felt like I was never allowed to. Kind of it was, it was like something that you were expected to do to kind of be be kind of touch other boys and be kind of Macy homoerotic with people without it being gay because it couldn't be gay. That was that was bad. Yeah. [00:13:29] It's quite interesting how those two things can coexist. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So How and when did you tell your parents? [00:13:39] and not for a long time? Actually. [00:13:44] I, I mean, I sort of knew that they'd be okay with it, obviously. But [00:13:51] I, you know, I had quite a hard time just sort of, [00:13:56] for a while I sort of thought, you know, it's nobody else's business. Why should I tell them? It's not important? [00:14:06] You know, I suppose I told them, you know, when I was about 20, or 21, and that seems really late. But [00:14:15] yeah, and I wish I told them earlier, but, but I didn't. And I guess I was probably a bit selfish about it that I thought, I thought that it was only about me, and that it didn't affect anyone else. [00:14:31] Yeah. Why do you wish you had told me? [00:14:34] Oh, it's just because I probably would have been, though I definitely would have been very, very supportive through, you know, through high school and stuff. And I felt like, as soon as I started coming out to people, that it was just an enormous relief. And I, I felt like I could be myself. But didn't I mean, it didn't change how it was, but there was this kind of dread all through high school, you know, I'm gonna have to tell people, what if someone finds out what if I tell someone you know, and I went out with girls in high school, and sort of had this kept up this facade of being a straight boy. And the first person I told that I was gay was my current girlfriend. And she was actually really supportive about it. And we went to the ball together, and, you know, as friends, and that was really lovely. But there was this incredible dread all through high school that I also glad to kind of get rid of. And once I left, [00:15:43] how did your parents react? [00:15:47] They were just like, are we you know, we we knew and why didn't you tell us earlier, basically, and that was one of them? Yeah, that's fine. [00:15:56] So in terms of language us around sexuality and gender, what? How would you identify yourself? What kind of language would you use? outsells gay? [00:16:05] Yeah, that would be I don't think I would use any other identification Really? supposed to be good, but okay with you? How do [00:16:15] you think sexuality kind of impacts on the rest of your personality? I mean, as the sexuality a large part of who you are, was something that's just just the around the corners only? [00:16:28] I mean, I think I think it does. It is a big part of who I am. And I'm not sure how exactly that manifests itself. But [00:16:42] I think it's that's the thing that that is anyone who's gay or [00:16:48] queer in some kind of way. Thanks a lot about it. It's part of your psyche, part of your approach to life, I think there's not a way of kind of putting it in a compartment and saying it's over there. It's just a label. I'm not. I think Yeah. It's, it's an important part of, of who I am. And, and creatively as well, I think it's definitely informed my practice as a composer as a poet. And I'm not sure yeah, as I say, I'm not sure how it manifests itself, specifically, but it's, it's part of, its part of my heart part of my brain, part of my personality. [00:17:37] I'm wondering, I mean, can you, I suppose, kind of refine a little bit more insight how to how it influences your creative work? [00:17:46] Yeah. [00:17:48] So I guess I, in my creativity, in my music, specifically, I'm often dealing with [00:17:59] emotions, dealing with [00:18:02] ideas of intimacy in distance or strangeness and familiarity, things like that. [00:18:11] Things that are familiar things that other [00:18:14] the relationship between [00:18:18] those [00:18:20] corollaries and yeah, and I might not necessarily be a specific conceptual part, but I think it's always there. And my words, always informed by my emotions, and my emotions are informed by my sexuality. And [00:18:40] and sometimes it does take a specific [00:18:43] conceptual form, I wrote a piece last year as part of my residency with the National Youth Orchestra, called feel, which was a sort of piece about coming out as gay. And that was really the most [00:19:02] of the [00:19:05] creative statement that I've made about, about my sexuality. I think you can see it, and you can hear it, in other words, too, but this was specifically a coming out piece, the program note says, you know, since as much and the the trajectory of the piece moves from a kind of closed, claustrophobic sort of dreadful, introversion to something quite open and [00:19:37] hopeful. [00:19:38] What was the response to that piece? [00:19:41] And yeah, that's interesting, actually. Because no one I think one person, one person talk to me about it in terms of its conceptual content. And [00:19:56] no one else [00:19:59] mentioned the fact that it was, it's often the case actually, with with music with concert music, people don't discuss it, they just say, Oh, that was a nice piece well done. Or, I'd like that, but, or an even even, you know, people that whose opinions you respect and who are themselves composers even often feel like, they can't tell you what they really think about something. And in this particular case, I don't think there was well, not that, that got back to me anyway, there was necessarily an engagement with the, the subject matter of the piece, which I was, I was a bit disappointed about, but um, it wasn't Christchurch. So maybe performed in Auckland might have a completely different audience reaction. I mean, they seem to they seem to like the face. But [00:20:59] yeah. It's hard to know, it's hard to know what the response was really? [00:21:05] What about the response from the Youth Orchestra? [00:21:09] They really enjoyed playing it. But again, I provided a program that with the music and, [00:21:17] you know, sort of two pages of this is what the piece is about. This is the background to it. There was a poem that went along with it. JOHN Ashbery poem is a American gay poet still alive, probably the most important [00:21:30] living American living poet probably. [00:21:34] And [00:21:37] no one from the orchestra actually talked to me about the piece from a from the perspective of this is the gay piece, this is Alex, talking about more, trying to articulate trying to share his emotions about being gay. And as much as I enjoyed the process of working with the youth orchestra, and making the music happen, and refining it, technically and all that I was lifted, but I'm sad that, that there wasn't, or people that didn't at least feel comfortable talking to me about that element of it. And the one person who did talk to me about it was actually from the youth choir. I wrote the piece for the orchestra. And, and the same program of music, the youth orchestra was performing with the Israel youth choir. And so this, this man who talked to me about it, he was not performing in the work. And he didn't actually he didn't, I think he did, maybe he did hear the word performance. But um, yeah, he was the only person he was, he was some bisexual guy. And he was the only person who [00:23:00] pulled it up, [00:23:01] that, you know, you know, good on your phone writing this piece. It's really interesting, blah, blah, blah. I mean, I can't remember exactly what his response was. But I do remember that as I was struck, that there was one person who talked to me about it. [00:23:18] When you look in the wider context of New Zealand, I mean, are there many gay lesbian, transgender pieces that have been written for, say, for orchestra, or, or, [00:23:31] um, there are [00:23:34] quite a number of queer composers and New Zealand, but I think for many of them, it's not an overt subject and the music. There are some pieces that have [00:23:53] overtly gay content or [00:23:56] check body has written a number of pieces that his loft sonnets and Michelangelo and, and other other pieces. And I awkward is also a composer who has dealt with it specifically. But I think many composers in New Zealand have preferred not to deal with it a Bitly. And the music. [00:24:24] Not sure why that I can. And I can understand why that is. And I think it's [00:24:35] often composers want to attach a specific meaning to a work, they don't want to tell the audience what to feel, or what to think. They want the music to speak for itself. And for the audience, then to interact with it and derive their own meaning. But for me, this was an important piece to write. People could still, I felt like I'd left enough room for people to interact with, with it, that I could still deal with these things and talk about dealing with these things and say, Simon and the program not. [00:25:19] So when you're kind of referencing jack, and and the I mean, how do you know about these people kind of being gay? I mean, as taught at university in terms of these gay composers, or how do you? How do you find out? [00:25:35] I don't think it was taught University, particularly, they weren't courses about sexual issues in music, like there was, say, in English or in history, you know, you could do a paper sexual histories, or you could study, you know, gay writers and the English department. I don't think that was ever an option and music. I think that's a real shame. But I, as part of my honors, did a lot of research on on New Zealand composers, I did a topic, Zealand music with Eve, who was not able to capture Robinson, who was my supervisor. And one of my special topics was the music of Anya Lockwood. And so I researched her music. Another another essay that I wrote, as part of that paper was on protest music, and an aspect of that was the homosexual Law Reform Movement. And I was interested in any kind of both gay protest music, but also feminist stuff, and anything related to that. So I guess I did my own research. Also word of mouth. It's quite a small community, the composing community. And every year there's the Nelson composers workshop. You learn things from all the composer's people share stories. Some people are quite open about their sexuality, and you find out about other people by word of mouth. And, yeah, I think it would be nice for it to be for it to be taught. But there are always issues around whether people want to be known as a gay composer, with a out but also whether they want the music to be [00:27:36] heard as gay. [00:27:40] And in your situation, I mean, do you want to be known as a gay composer? I'm happy to be known as a composer. Yeah. [00:27:47] I think it's, it's a big part of my music. But all other things also been part of my music. I think it informs my music, just like, my personality informs my music in my taste and other things. Yeah, I have no problem with with being being labeled as a gay composer. [00:28:10] Do you think that label in some way would would box you in to, you know, but they say, Oh, well, you know, Alex, does this type of thing. And specifically like for a gay audience, or [00:28:20] I don't think you could. I don't think my music. [00:28:27] I don't think you could box it. And I don't see how it would work. [00:28:34] I mean, the most obvious example of [00:28:38] an outcast composer and New Zealanders, Gareth far in terms of having a very kind of flamboyant drag persona a little bit quieter, and being very open about his sexuality, but I don't think he's seen as Gareth, the guy, composer, I think his music is respected on its own merits, which I would hope that minus two. [00:29:06] In your research, did you come up with any surprises? I mean, with the people, in your research that you thought, oh, gosh, I had an idea. And then you saw the music in a different way? [00:29:17] Yeah, that's interesting. They were they were people that I hadn't [00:29:23] come across necessarily, as composers who had written a little bit of music specifically about gay issues, people like William dad, who wrote a couple of musicals. I mean, Williams well known as a gay person, but not as well known as a composer. And I found out about his some, as musicals, give me a kiss, and songs to the judges. I think the other one is, give me a kiss. This is a specifically gay musical, and other people, as well. But what is a good example of that? There are also gay composers who who aren't necessarily out, and who perhaps don't, you know, don't want the music to be to be labeled that way or for them, personally, to be labeled that way. [00:30:20] Earlier this year, you were part of a concert as part of the Oakland pride festival. Can you tell me about that? [00:30:27] So Samuel Holloway, a good friend of mine, and an open composer, was asked to create, create, but also curate a concert of, of queer composers. So he brought together music by check body and IL awkward, Gareth. JOHN Helmsley, David Hamilton, Claire Cohen, a number of other composers, which I probably won't be able to meet everyone, and at the music theatre at the Oakland University. And it's probably the first time that I'm aware of certainly in recent years that a program of game music has been put together. Perhaps in the 80s, there was, there were a few things like that, but some. [00:31:17] Yeah, it was, it was quite an exciting event. Really, I was, I was really [00:31:22] excited to be part of it. The title of that concert was, after all been referencing Douglas Logan. Tell me about that. Because Douglas, I mean, we think he might have had, you know, kind of gay relationships, but also had relationships with people like, rankles. Yeah, um, [00:31:43] I think it's generally accepted that Douglas open was gay. [00:31:52] Whether he labeled himself that way. [00:31:56] He didn't, you know, he wasn't out as a gay man. But [00:32:00] I think it was a provocative, and I think it was an appropriate way to title the concert. [00:32:09] So you are comfortable with somebody, it's not necessarily out being used as, as the kind of title of a gay concert. [00:32:23] I think there's been so much discussion of low burn, and he's so pivotal to, to the whole genesis of New Zealand music, that it would be foolish to ignore that aspect of his music in his life. into to say that we should ignore his sexuality and only look at him as a normative [00:33:01] composer [00:33:03] is, I think it's this the wrong approach. I think it's good to discuss a little been as a game in. I think [00:33:11] Samuel commented, in a news article about how even on Philip Norman's biography of Douglas, that there was a very little about the kind of homosexual aspect of them. Do you have any kind of thoughts on it? [00:33:26] I think it's something that people are quite reluctant to discuss. I think there's been some conflict between Israel and composers in the past about it. [00:33:38] It's also difficult because he's not alive anymore. And [00:33:47] it's difficult to know how he would feel about about it. But the discussion is already out there and [00:33:56] to [00:33:58] push it away and not food it is, I think, a bit childish. [00:34:04] When you listen to loons music, I mean, can you hear a gayness in there, or some kind of reference to this homosexuality? [00:34:12] I think it's like I said earlier, it's difficult to know how a particular person's sexuality will manifest itself and a work of art. But having said that, I think [00:34:25] I think you can hear [00:34:29] certainly, in [00:34:32] some of his chamber music is a soul of [00:34:36] intimacy and [00:34:39] sort of restlessness. I don't I mean, I don't it's difficult to [00:34:45] sort of psychoanalyze his music. But I think generally, he was more concerned with constructing and sort of New Zealand identity, then perhaps, dealing with his own emotions so often, and big orchestral pieces, you get [00:35:03] a very [00:35:06] outside a very constructed facade of music that I think sometimes, you know, subsumes has his own kind of emotions. But at the same time, there's also a sort of restraint and a sense of repression, and as music that I think, maybe correlates to his struggle with sexuality. I think you listen to any of his symphonies, three symphonies. And there's kind of this reluctance and reticence. He's not quite, he's not quite able to express express himself, frankly. [00:35:54] Which, [00:35:56] I mean, yeah, as I say, it's difficult to to translate music to [00:36:02] into words, or to psychoanalyze it. But yeah, I think there are elements of it there. [00:36:08] Another way of looking at it is as a gay man listening to his music, does it alter how you perceive as music knowing that he was, he was gay. [00:36:22] I found myself listening for for these elements, or finding these elements and as music, this sort of [00:36:33] repressed or closeted [00:36:36] element, which maybe I wasn't so aware of, before, before, I knew that he was a gay composer. I mean, I've always enjoyed Logan's music, but it does have this element of not quite fulfilling its [00:36:54] potential. Yeah. [00:36:57] So you were quite happy to be part of this a square concert? Were you aware of other out composers that actually didn't want to be a part of this because it was going to be specifically in [00:37:12] stereo did tell me about one person in particular, I didn't want to be part of the concert. And I, there might be others as well. [00:37:23] I'm not sure if [00:37:27] even if everyone made it, whether it was possible to include everyone who perhaps might have wanted to be included. But I do know that there was at least one person who was asked and and didn't want to be included. [00:37:44] As a composer, can you actually withhold the right of performance? So like, if somebody says, I'm sitting up a gay lesbian concert, and I want to use your work? Do you have any say as to actually whether that work gets performed or not? [00:38:00] theory? No. But in practice, the [00:38:06] the communities are small and the everyone knows each other, the relationships? [00:38:13] It's difficult to do that without burning a bridge, or [00:38:19] you would have a difficult time, I think, trying to out someone in a concert like that, not overtly, but using the music without their permission, I think that would be quite difficult. Yeah. [00:38:34] What do you think it's important to have a concert but specifically labeled as this was a, you know, these are gay composers. [00:38:41] And what I just, I think it's interesting to, to kind of hear the different approaches that what, firstly, from a perspective of a gay audience, which is what this was aimed at, primarily as part of the pride festival, to, to be exposed to the history of, and the breadth of New Zealand music from, from gay composers. I think that's really important. But also, just from a general music perspective, I think I think it's, it's important just to, to have another way of, of listening to the music, to find, you know, we're always listening for different things that we can engage with, and things that we can tune into, in pieces of music. And if you've got this, you know, sexuality thread as one as one thing that you can, then an audience member can perhaps relate to, or [00:39:46] it can provoke some kind of response. [00:39:50] Tell me about the audience that attended the concert. I mean, what what kind of audience was it? [00:39:54] It was really, it was really nice to see a really [00:40:00] the audience was a mixture of the typical concert going music lover, and a lot of the gay community as well. Who whom you wouldn't normally Pepsi at a classical music event, which classical music, a contemporary classical music event. So yeah, there was a really nice blend there. And I think the vibe of the concert was, was wonderful, everyone. Really, all the performers and composers and audience, I think, really embodied the whole spirit of the concert, which was quite heartfelt, and quite, quite lovely. Yeah. [00:40:47] It's interesting, because a couple of weeks after the festival, we had check bodies, songs of dancers and desire to come and repay. And that was part of the Auckland Arts Festival. And I went to lunch. And it was quite a different audience. So it was quite a, it was like a quite a standard [00:41:05] idea. Audience API audience, [00:41:07] can you compare the two audiences because I found the common audience, almost disconnected from you know, what [00:41:15] was going on. And I think that is perhaps also related to the size of the venue. The music theater is quite an intimate space. And it was pretty much full two thirds of it, of what the other theaters not only used, but there was a connection between the performance and an audience and that concert, which is quite, I think it's quite a rare thing, actually. There. It's more common in chamber music, but then the, the jack body concert, big venue, Town Hall, you know, audience quite a long way away from from the performers. And also, the audience, perhaps not knowing what to expect, not being familiar with jack bodies work not being necessarily comfortable throughout all of the concert. I mean, I think there were moments in that concert, which made everyone comfortable at various points. And I think that was part of the point of the concert was to be provocative and engaging and challenging. [00:42:26] But I think that the standard orchestral concert goer is not necessarily [00:42:35] going to experience or intend to experience music the same way that someone who goes to a contemporary classical gay concert is wanting to know they wanted to have different experiences really, the the music lover, the standard, repertory orchestral music lover goes perhaps as a lovely night out to enjoy the music watching over them. And it's perhaps slightly nostalgic, perhaps there's, you know, perhaps mainly it's it's entertainment. But there's, with Jack's piece and also with after Logan, this, there's another element, which is art is something challenging, provocative. Something not comfortable. And the subject matter also, is something that for a mainstream audience is not hardly ever talked about except in context like that. So as by definition, uncomfortable. [00:43:40] Do you feel that things like say, that coming out piece that you did for the youth orchestra, that would be sidelined into our Well, that's a Agapi? So it's really only for a gay audience, would that ever get into a mainstream program? [00:43:56] I don't know. I hope so. It's only ever been before once [00:44:00] is being recorded later this year by the entity. So for the collaborative, writing New Zealand sounds into the soul readings. So I'll get a good recording of that. I don't know whether it will be programmed, again, it was written for a specific orchestra Youth Orchestra. [00:44:19] I would hope that it that it would be picked up. [00:44:23] I think I would hope that [00:44:28] it wouldn't be seen as [00:44:32] hope the gay content. It's the music itself is just music, but I hope that the fact that it's the subject matter is is a coming out peace wouldn't preclude it from being programmed again. Yeah. [00:44:50] But that depends on people's [00:44:54] prejudices and [00:44:57] and what else is in the program? I mean, yeah, that's some at taste. [00:45:00] You might also find that actually, the reverse happens in the because it was like a coming out piece that actually was programmed, you know, many times. So what did you take out of out of the afternoon concert? How did you feel about it. [00:45:17] But as I was, I was really happy to be involved. But also, I felt really good about the whole feeling of the concert, it was very collegial. And all the composers who were there who had the music played we're very grateful for the for the opportunity to, to have pieces of this played, which perhaps are not normally programmed. One particular composer, I remember john Hemsley coming down to, to have about and he was just so heavy, you know, he was he had Mark Menzies, who was the violinist to the violist, actually, who played his solo piece, which reference a little bit and actually, John's peace, and john was just so absolutely thrilled to, to be involved in for his music to be played. And, and the whole the whole context, the whole vibe of the concert was was very lovely. [00:46:21] So after the concert, how was it kind of received in terms of kind of critical forward? [00:46:27] Well, as well as the sort of the general buzz of, of the concept at at the time itself? I think there was, there was a feeling from some people that maybe the concert could have, it could have been other things, that perhaps it wasn't really, apart from one or two pieces, which were overtly gay works, that it wasn't really a gay concert. The program consisted of works by gay composers, but [00:46:57] I think they will probably [00:47:01] one, maybe two that were really certainly Jack's work. Fact bodies work was, you know, had was settings of an overtly gay text. But most of the other pieces didn't have any reference to sexuality. And so that was one criticism that it didn't kind of embody the whole the queer thing in it, it could have there are other pieces that could have been programmed that would have been more political in that sense. So and I awkward is written a number of pieces that are more concerned with sexuality. Other other composers, I mean, I've written other pieces that would perhaps have been better suited to the gay theme, but they will also constraints in terms of performance, and just general programming issues that same had to juggle. So yeah, there was another Another criticism that someone said, told me was that it was too serious. And too, it was all too very academic and serious. And that not not enough fun, you know, that that you might think going to a gay concert that you like, perhaps Jax concert had moments of very high camp, we didn't get any of that we had, you know, one or two brief interludes that was slightly life's players piece was lovely, and rhythmic and fun, but there was no real camp, which you might expect and a gay context. And so those are two quite contradictory criticisms, really. And I think, from my perspective, the concept juggles all of those things quite well. But yeah, those are some of the criticisms. [00:48:57] And it seems to me that those kind of criticism, point to the fact that there's a real hunger for people wanting to hear maybe gay composers or gay thing works, or, you know, they would be criticizing unless they certainly your passionate about wanting to see something. [00:49:14] Yeah, I agree. I think there's, there's a lack of discourse, and there's a lack of, [00:49:24] well, I, [00:49:26] there are a few gay works and things. But it's, I think it was hard for Samuel to actually put a program together in terms of fulfilling that sort of political element that some people felt was was needed. But yeah, it's it's great that the concert was put on, because that's sort of started the discourse around gay music. And that will lead I hope, to other concepts of game music and other kind of epic news and discussion. [00:50:03] One of the things we haven't talked about, but is just kind of inherent in a lot of the stuff that you're doing the idea of visibility of actually, you know, putting yourself out there as a as a gay man, as a gay composer. Tell me why is it important to be visible? [00:50:23] I just wanted to encourage Well, just from a personal perspective, it's, it's part of, its part of who I am. It's something I'm proud of something that I I've said that, you know, that I think relates to my music and as part of my creativity. But also, I think it's important to be out just to encourage other people who are struggling with those issues to be out as well. And [00:50:58] yeah, I mean, there are there are a lot of [00:51:01] there are a lot of gay composers. And it would be [00:51:06] I think it would be nice sometimes if, if we talked a bit more about the aspect of our [00:51:13] about creativity.

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