In the Renaissance, nobles had their own composers, so at least some talented people had sponsors, food on the table and the ability to create without having to work as field hands (or worse). Today, we have democratized music, anyone is free to compose and create wonderful music, and for that reason, almost no one is creating wonderful music. Well, I am typing this accompanied by Barbara Gallagher’s original work, Dancing Into the Light and I am asking a question we all should be asking, how does someone get beautiful work like this out (and get paid for it?) Her music is powerful and moving, (this coming from a guy who almost only is called by guitar music), so why doesn’t everyone know about her?
How does one keep a business focus while staying in the creative space? It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Do you try to create with an audience (or buyer) in mind or do you just follow your soul and hope the work finds an audience? I suspect that the business principal of building a business and an audience is probably first, you can follow your heart as you get more fans, but I’m a business guy first.
On the one hand, I am able to hear Barbara’s music because of the internet, as you can too. But how does one become known as a classical composer in 2009? You’d think her work would be enough, but the more I work with artists, the more I realize that it isn’t. Being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people and finding your audience seem to matter in the classical music business as they do in ANY business. Networking, blogging, getting You Tube videos out there seem SO important to Barbara’s goal of becoming a well known (and financially successful) composer.
I strongly believe that having a vision and purpose, of expecting success is the most powerful thing you can do. Have a specific goal, specific to date, time and result and work towards it every day. Allow for miracles and inspiration along the way. There is no coincidence.
Treating your talent like a business, learning some marketing principals seem to be the key to me, but then again, I’ve never gotten anyone to play my music on NPR like Barbara has, so I’m probably a little naive. I think the concept of doing 5 things every day towards goals is very important too, as is learning to use the web. But, it seems to me, Barbara needs an angel. Know any?
Please visit her site and listen to her music, I think you will love it as much as I do!
(By the way, do looks count? Some promoter should snap up her work just because of the beautiful posters she will grace for concerts!)
Early studies were with Fr. Kenneth Geyer in piano at Belmont Abbey College; she holds degrees from U.N.C. School of the Arts (B.M.) where she studied composition with Sherwood Shaffer and Robert Ward, and The Juilliard School (M.M.) where Vincent Persichetti was her principal teacher and she was a teaching fellow in Ear-training and Solfege, assisting Dept. Chair Mary Anthony Cox; in New York she served as house pianist for Manhattan Savings Bank and was workshop artist for Hospital Audiences, Inc; organ studies were with Marsha H. Long. Upon returning to her home state of North Carolina, she taught at Brunswick Community College, wrote reviews for Encore Magazine (Wilmington, N.C.) and also studied Gregorian Chant notation and performance at St. Meinrad Monastery in Indiana.
The producer of the “ComposerWorks” concert series, which to date has presented works of over thirty-five North Carolina composers and is now in its seventeenth year, she has recently served as Accompanist Coordinator for the Carolina Ballet’s Summer Intensive and Residency at UNC-Wilmington and Composer-in-Residence for Magic Trunk Theater Company. A longtime piano teacher and church musician, she currently holds positions locally as Director of Music for Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church, Pianist and Contemporary Choir Director for St. Mary Catholic Church and Instructor at Cape Fear Community College and maintains a private teaching studio.