The always-entertaining Nico Muhly reflects on the different versions of what constitutes standard ‘rep’. Muhly highlights how different perspectives shape different standardisations (as opposed to the conventional idea of a standard repertoire), with musicians learning music endemic to their own instruments or ensembles, and composers studying scores featuring particular orchestral effects, and so on. Muhly develops such multi-discursive notions in the context of musical cosmopolitanism more generally speaking:
I’m very much of the opinion that any amount of study of really anything will make you a better musician. Three years of Dari in Afghanistan, great, four years of jazz vibraphone, great, great, everything’s great. Learning how to cook Chinese food, that’s great. I’m also a huge fan of canonical learning — it’s nice to meet a musician from China, or Israel, and know that you have a sort of common ground of references. In the last few months, I’ve noticed something, though. I’ve been working mainly with orchestras in New York & London, and while the canonical understanding is firm, there are some funny non-overlapping areas.
Published on 3 August 2012