Old but New

Day 30 Week 5 Q1 Monday, January 30, 2023

Are both of these terms relative? Can you be old in some ways but new in others? A twenty-year-old can have no experience at all in some things but twenty years of experience in others, like eating and breathing. 

A seventy-year-old can be an absolute newcomer to a field of endeavor.

A recent experience in a brand new field for me drove this home. I was asked to enter an international composers’ competition to bridge Classical and Jazz music being held in Chicago by Ravinia, the organization in Chicago which is the summer home of there Chicago Symphony, as Tanglewood in the Berkshires is the Summer Home of the Boston Symphony. As I write this, the deadline is January 31, 2023, which is tomorrow.

What a great idea, bridging two of my favorite music forms. And after composing a strong piece taking into account the very different needs and priorities of classical and jazz musicians, I came face to face with the fact that although I am a new composer, I am also old. At least, according to the computer-automated submission process non-human process, which requires right after your first and last name, your date of birth. And that you are expected to be between 18 and 30.

This raises many issues for me but is more humorous than disturbing, for as I am older, wiser, and more experienced than many, if I want to have my work performed, I can create a concert and do not need to wait for permission from a contest or judges.

I wonder if the International Competition people know that currently, people over 65 years number 483 million in the world and by 2030, the number will reach 974 million. By the year 2025, approximately 18 percent of the world’s population will be seniors. Or that right now, more than 56 million Americans are over 65, with 8,000 baby boomers in the United States turning 65 every day. 

Back to Chicago, A musician could be 18 and have 14 years of experience or be 30 and have two years of experience. If the goal is to find a young person to make a lot of promotional noise about, support them in developing a new career and then take credit for it for the next 50 years, which could be a legitimate perspective for an institution to promote the young. But what if the older person was actually recruited when they were ten and then pursued other professional paths? Think of the potential story and branding opportunity there.

Being older, I will eventually figure out the number of a person to call and make these points, and we will see what happens. But I must say that being Old and also New is a fascinating place to be in life. Just another part of the Creative Outlier journey, which, after all, is filled with chances not to be understood.

It is wonderful being Old but New.