There is a profile in today's Toronto Star of Andrew Ager, organist at St. James Anglican Cathedral here in Toronto. (with video!)
I met Andrew a long time ago, at a house on Palmerston boulevard, which I believe he was housesitting. He seemed like a great guy, and it is wonderful to see the Star do a big profile like this. Except...
Well, how about that title? Rebel Without a Choir? Come on! St. James has two choirs! And yes, he is the composer in residence, but he's also the Music Director, in fact, that's his title.
Why do I get the impression that the Star's classical music critic, John Terauds, didn't even look at the St. James Cathedral website? Does anyone fact check anymore?
Oh, I know, why am I nitpicking, the Star at least printed something, right? And Harry Potter gets kids into reading, right? Sure, fine, but here in my little tiny corner of the world, I know a bit about what the article is talking about, and it's factually incorrect. What's up with that?
And yes, there's the tone. Having watched the David Byrne Die Soldaten dust-up, I must admit that it is tiring to read yet another article premised on the idea that the "tonal" composers are somehow in some kind of West Side Story style confrontation with the "atonal" composers. It just doesn't happen that way.
One day, maybe, I'll get into my time as a composition student, and speak a bit about the Hegelian vision of history that pervades how people think about music in music departments, which seems to drive this thinking. I will also get into how "atonal" composers appear to hold a kind of position akin to that of analytic philosophers in North American philosophy departments, which is that being a "composer" or a "philosopher" means, to many people, being a composition or philosophy professor.
But not tonight. Just go read the Andrew Ager profile, and not only will you see what I just mentioned pervading the article, you will also get to read about (and watch) an interesting guy with a really, really, cool vocation.