So I conducted a symphony orchestra here in March. Wrote the local Sage City Symphony a piece.
Hi there! I study music composition at Bennington.
The first thing I should mention is that I’m surprised by the amount of good musicians who come to study here. I’ve never had any serious trouble putting together an ensemble due to a lack of skill on campus. People come here who could have gotten into conservatory had they wanted that kind of environment.
“Ensembles” at Bennington are spontaneous and, like everything here, student initiated and somewhat ephemeral. The way I get my music played is by networking, putting my feelers out and figuring out who is excited to play new music.
As for singing, we have two fabulous voice teachers. Tom Bogdan, my teacher, was part of Meredith Monk’s ensemble, and is a sage and sweet man who has been a mentor for a wide variety of things besides music. I love him to death.
As for collaboration with dancers and visual artists, it not only happens a lot, but there have been quite a few classes on making new interdisciplinary work (I was in one called Creating Music for Dance).
Check these archival posts out:
When you’re studying at a place that asks you to direct your own course of study and monitor your own self-behavior, you naturally develop a sense of ownership over your own life as a student here. That I wouldn’t change. It’s the fact that invitation of ownership starts to meet resistance when students who have a deep passion for the college itself—and the continuation of its legacy—try to get involved in the decisions of how the college will grow and become “more itself”. I’m starting to get it now that I’m a Senior; at a place like this where the educational model is so unique, it meets a lot of criticism from those to whom it seems foreign and therefore something to be feared. I just wish there was a way for current students to inform the continuous development of the college and its programs.
So far there’s no forum for that, but there are some of us who are trying to create one. It’s kind of hard to articulate, but what I hope to see in the future is something of a hybrid between a student council and a steering committee made of up current students who are passionate about the school and its messages, mature enough to understand the pressures on a non-profit institution like Bennington, and constructive in their ideas about how to best serve our common goal of furthering Bennington’s ability to serve its diversely talented student population, and its reputation in the world.