Tag Archives: International

From California to New York to Germany: A Brief Look at the Similarities and Differences

It’s been a bit longer than I anticipated since my last post. You can go ahead and blame the magnificent 15 day Australian honeymoon for that, I guess.

The previous post examined the core data that was only for California based festivals. This time around I’d like to look at how the database has begun to expand (there are 3,363 performances recorded in here as of this writing!) and include performances from all over the world.

Currently, there are a total of 29 different festivals represented in RMPDB. In addition to the California ones already mentioned, we now have the following as well:

  • Bang on a Can (New York, NY)
  • Donaueschinger Musiktage (Donaueschingen, Germany)
  • Ear Taxi Festival (Chicago)
  • ECLAT (Stuttgar, Germany)
  • Florida State University Festival of New Music (Tallahassee, Florida)
  • London Contemporary Music Festival (London)
  • London Ear Festival (London)
  • MATA (New York, NY)
  • MusicNOW Festival (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • New Gallery Concert Series (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Scale Variable New Chamber Music (Perth, Australia)
  • Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Witten, Germany)

While the majority of data is still comprised of California festivals, there are 735 performances from other locations. The amount of performances from any one location outside of California is fairly small; however, we can begin to see some patterns emerge related to which composers are being programmed.

Note: The graph defaults to only showing 168 nodes. To see all of the data you can simply update the number in the top left of the window. Hover over a composer’s name to highlight the links to the festivals that have programmed their music.

As I examine this network a few different relationships begin to stand out:

  • There are definite overlaps between who is being programmed at any single location and other locations. No festivals (that have been added to RMPDB thus far) exist in a vacuum. Some of them, like those in Chicago, New York, Stuttgart, and Perth, program many composers not seen in other locations, but others, like Boston and Cincinnati (albeit with an extremely small number of performances represented here) fairly well overlap with others.
  • Despite the relatively close proximity of San Diego and Los Angeles (~120 miles) there is a fairly big difference between the composers programmed in each place.
  • Just looking at the graph, there appears to be a fairly large overlap between London performances and those in California (particularly Los Angeles).
  • Tallahassee is also fairly unique. Upon closer examination this is one of only two festivals in RMPD that are sponsored by a university. It appears as though some of my initial assumptions about university sponsored festivals are true in this case, in that it is programming a large number of works by its own faculty and students and only a smaller number by composers outside of their walls.

Implications to the collecting habits of music libraries:

  • There is a difference between which composers are being programmed that is, at least somewhat, related to geography. We should certainly do our best to present a balanced and global collection to our users, but local musicians are programming local musicians. This is the music your students are more frequently being exposed to when they go to professional concerts and what they consequently might want to play/study later. Are you collecting this local music or are you only focused on getting the “big” names?