The compositions of Ed Windels have been described variously as “nice, a little too long” (his aunt), “lacking a distinctive voice” (a renowned orchestral executive), “awfully repetitive with not much going on” (a highly regarded flautist) and “really really hard” (several performers, especially singers).
The first known (or at least acknowledged) member of either side of his family to display any artistic inclination, Ed squandered his youth in dilettante explorations of most of the fine and performing arts, before dismaying his parents by devoting his studies to the most unreliable and ephemeral, classical music, earning both Bachelors and Masters degrees in composition at the Mannes College of Music in just three years. Possessing little to no ability as a performer of any kind and a sanguine attitude about the challenges of making a full time living as a composer, he has earned his keep in the corporate world and as a “5 to 9” artist, a path he for which he has become an advocate. He has since developed a burgeoning side career as an arranger and orchestrator in theatrical world.
Ed has never earned a residency, won no major awards or prizes, and holds no certificates or distinction of merit… yet. Outside of a showcase concerts of his works by NewMusicNewYork, his compositions have never received public recognition, although he has had the pleasure of being performed, albeit grudgingly, by some of New York City’s most notable up-and-coming artists.
Composer and corporate jobber Ed Windels discusses being a 5–9 composer and taking skills from the business world to the music world.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- New Music Box articles:
- Being a 5–9 composer
- Arthur Breur
- Getting a job after college
- Being out of the new music world
- The traditional path for composers is gone
- The changing musical landscape
- Doing it yourself
- Time management
- Presenting yourself in public
- There’s no shame in having a day job
- Making it work with a job
- Making appointments with yourself
- Examples from history
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