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For I’m a jolly good Fellow!

August 20, 2010

Accepting his Natural Endowment of the Parts Award

Yesterday, I received the stunning news that I was selected to attend the NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in October. As one who:

  1. never took a single journalism class in college;
  2. never held a full-time journalism job;
  3. writes exclusively online these days at (the last professional thing of mine to be published on processed wood pulp was a San Diego Union-Tribune review in 1995);
  4. spent over a decade as a composer applying for grants and to competitions without winning a single thing; and
  5. had straight A’s in high school except for one class, Expository Writing

I am alternately shocked, ecstatic, giddy, and bewildered. I am experiencing something that I have never really had in my life before: major professional validation, and it’s an odd feeling–but I’m adjusting.

The Institute is a 10-day, intensive workshop (nearly all expenses paid!) where I will be expected to write reviews overnight (I haven’t done that in over 15 years), attend performances at the Metropolitan Opera and New York Symphony (where fellows will meet the superstar of European modernism, Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg), and contribute to a collaborative blog written by attendees. In preparation for this, I need to buy a laptop with wifi and nice new clothes (I don’t think my usual polo shirt, jeans, and sneakers will cut it in Manhattan).

If you’d like to read the work of mine that convinced the Institute to shower me with your tax dollars, I am posting links below. In the meantime, I will enjoy the very atypical feeling of glory I am wondrously experiencing.

CSI Beethoven–Inside Ludwig’s Head, by Orchestra Nova: Forensics, Fidelio, and the Fourth

Connections Chamber Music Series: Different Trains, and Why It’s One of the Greatest Pieces Ever Written About the Holocaust

La Jolla Symphony: American Accents: Wu Man is a Dish For the Gods

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