Louis Anthony gives advice: "Be great at what you do, make interesting, creative music, look fantastic and interesting, and use every tool available to share your musical message with as many persons as possible!"
Music is now and has always been at the core of my existence. Since I was a young boy, music has been there to provide me comfort when I was sad or lonely, a way to express my joy and love and an object that I can study endlessly.
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
Yes, music is always a fantasy. For me, music comes like a dream—it is always spontaneous and coming from my unconscious. Even when I am composing more “academic music,” music where I am working within a certain formal structure or when I’ve decided to work with certain pitch collections, for instance, the actual music making takes place “in the back of my mind.” In that way, for me music is a fantasy or a dream.
If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?
I am very interested in law and politics, so perhaps I would be an attorney or a politician, although I am generally to be too outspoken to be a diplomat! (LOL)
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?
Yes, a bit.
Classical music is a museum piece. There may always be musical artists who want to perform the big hits from the classical repertoire, and that’s a wonderful thing to do. But, two things occur to me: First, there are so many more great masterworks that are never performed—they should be; Second, composers and performing artists need to make music that younger listeners want to hear!
What do you envision the role for classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there will be a transformation of this role?
I believe that classical music will remain in the lives of 21st century persons and will remain as it has been: an “entertainment.” The degree of popularity will be what is transformational, or truly—the degree to which composers transform their concert music will determine its popularity.
We are travelers in what is the best time for musicians and also the worst! The great thing about “now” for concert musical artists is that we can literally hear ANYTHING we want. As a student in the conservatory, I sometimes couldn’t afford to purchase recordings or attend all the concerts I wanted to attend. Now, we can access anything through streaming.
At the same time, there is so little money forthcoming for composers and performers that is derived from the Internet. This is a miserable feature of a wonderfully helpful tool!
Then, there is the central issue that the vast majority of the public simply doesn’t prefer to listen to concert music. If composers want to be heard, then their art music must be listenable and interesting to more than just a handful of like-minded academics. And, if artist performers want to become well known, they must do much more than simply polish some old musical gems.
When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to mind?
I think instantly that so few musicians do what you are doing! Most simply are content trying to “polish the old gems.” Most do not use social media, as do you, to create an audience, most, unlike you, do not perform all sorts of newly composed music. Brava, Anna!
Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?
Yes! Today’s musician needs to be very, very creative. Not only in the music they make, but also in how they manage to make a living from music. Musicians have always needed to be creative, but today I think the competition is so fierce, the distractions from other entertainments so many, the level of performance so high, and the number of aspiring musicians so great that only the most creative (and most talented and prepared) will thrive!
Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?
Classical artists need to continue to follow the examples set by pop and rock artists: Be great at what you do, make interesting, creative music, look fantastic and interesting, and use every tool available to share your musical message with as many persons as possible!
By Louis Anthony deLise, D.M.A.,
Composer and Producer,
Bocage Music Publishing, LLC