In these challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic, composer Jack Van Zandt shares a note of encouragement and hope and we’d like to share that with you. Together, we will get through the challenging times ahead.
“Like most everywhere else, live music performance and education has stopped in Los Angeles and the rest of California. All of us who are freelance musicians in LA are in the same boat as are all of you out there in Ireland, the UK and the rest of the world. All my performances, workshops and guest teaching gigs have been canceled for the foreseeable future, giving a significant hit to my income. The symphony and opera performances, and film score studio recordings, have all come to a halt. I was not surprised when I was informed yesterday that this year’s 10th Anniversary Hear Now Festival, in which my song cycle El Oro de los Tigres was to be performed, has been postponed until 2021. All programs now planned for this April and May will be performed in one year.
The upside to this situation, if there is one, is that I now have more time to compose the works that have been commissioned for the coming couple of years and continue to prepare my back catalog for publication by CE. I believe that we have to move forward thinking that the situation will have sorted itself out by then and we will all go back to work as usual. I have my doubts, but we have to keep going. What we as musicians do is vital for the preservation of human culture now and in the future.
Many in our community are facing an uncertain future financially. Funds to help unemployed musicians are popping up here in LA and in other parts of the world. If you can contribute to one or more of them, please do. And if you need help, ask for it. For example, a good one in our area was started by young LA composer Nick Norton who is very active in our local community.
Anybody can use this as a model to start a similar fund in your area and spread the word through Facebook and other social media. Tag me and I will do my best to spread the word and help out. If we all do this for each other, we might be able to help fellow musicians and their families who could face financial ruin otherwise. My social philosophy as a professional composer has always been that the best way to help ourselves is through helping each other. This is the way we should all operate, and it is especially true now in this uncertain emergency situation.
Please keep safe and healthy, and stay in close contact with your family, friends and fellow musicians in our international community. This is what will sustain us through the difficulties we now face. I am old enough to have lived through the real threat of nuclear annihilation in the 50s and 60s, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Watergate, the AIDS epidemic, and many other equally scary periods during my life. Like those gut-wrenching events, this present pandemic will pass, human life will go on, and we will come out the other end much changed. The question is: how are we going to use this experience to change our world for the better? And: What can we musicians do to make a difference?
I am always available and eager to share ideas and experiences, and I think it’s important for all of us to keep in touch and hear what is happening in our individual countries and locales and learn how we might adapt good ideas for our own area.
Good Health, Love and Peace to you all from Los Angeles.”
Jack Van Zandt
There are many organisations and community groups offering support, advice and raising funds for the musical community right across the world. I urge everyone to get whatever help they can and support whoever they can in their corners of the world, and online. Stay safe the keep connected!
Internet natives, Composers Edition staff continue to operate normally (more or less, childcare permitting!) so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Dan Goren, Director – Composers Edition
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