composers make money?

An interesting online discussion at the excellent site NewMusicbox about the mostly taboo subject of money and composers – it starts off with a brief essay by Mark N. Grant:

Money’s role in making composing possible is the most scandalously undercovered topic in all of musicology. Many otherwise probing composer biographies are strikingly deficient in their documentation of composers’ financial day-to-day lives. Jan Swafford’s Charles Ives: A Life with Music and Eric Gordon’s Mark the Music: The Life and Work of Marc Blitzstein are notable exceptions, strong in their documentation of the quotidian dollars and cents. Why is a composer’s sex life open to inquiry and his money life not? In an article printed in the February 1, 1970, Sunday New York Times, Harold Schonberg cited as history’s five richest classical composers Rossini, Meyerbeer, Verdi, Puccini, and Strauss, all opera guys. Wonder if that would still be the list in 2007.

By Charles Noble

I'm the Assistant principal violist of the Oregon Symphony.

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