Letters: Young Composers' Collective

Dear Editor,In your last issue (March–April), David Flynn introduced the YCC (Young Composers' Collective). The schedule of what the organisation intends to do is very laudable, and if such an organisation successfully increases performance opportunities...

Dear Editor,

In your last issue (March–April), David Flynn introduced the YCC (Young Composers’ Collective). The schedule of what the organisation intends to do is very laudable, and if such an organisation successfully increases performance opportunities for young composers then that will be very welcome.

However, in the brief article on the YCC a section was devoted to the AIC (Association of Irish Composers), in which it was criticised in various ways. As Executive Director of AIC, I would be glad of an opportunity to respond. It was quite extraordinary to read that the AIC ‘does little for young composers’, and that because it has qualitative membership criteria ‘some young composers are excluded’.

Firstly, it is worth stating that as anything AIC does represents all of its members, there is no deliberate slant either towards or away from its younger members. There are three strands to what the AIC sets out to do. Firstly, to defend composers’ material interests, secondly to inform composers of things like opportunities and entitlements, and thirdly to run a small number of events: namely two composition competitions (in partnership with Mostly Modern and IMRO), and a handful of concerts and composer talks.

All of these activities serve our entire membership, except for one of the competitions, run for young composers only. So naturally I find it surprising that while trying to launch a new organisation Mr Flynn felt it necessary to make essentially snide comments about the existing structures (he gave CMC and academia a bit of a lash also).

As for the notion that we exclude some young composers from membership, the opposite is true. We encourage young composers to join, and they do join all the time. In the five years that I have been the Director, not one young composer has been turned away. This is probably because the criteria are not arduous and are easy to access.

As we do not have any age-related clauses or practices in the formation of our Association, no member of YCC will be excluded in any way from joining the AIC. Of course, since one has to be under 35 to be in YCC, the same will not apply the other way around. I find it curious, then, that a new organisation founded on age exclusion (no-one over 35 need apply) starts out by falsely accusing others of this practice!

John McLachlan
Association of Irish Composers
c/o IMRO
Pembroke Row
Dublin 2

Published on 1 July 2004

John McLachlan is a composer and member of Aosdána. www.johnmclachlan.info

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