A ctually, business isn’t always ‘purely Darwinian’. (Please allow me this term because we all know what I mean even if it isn’t what Darwin meant—sorry!)I t’s been some years since I met Matthew Fields, in Winter of 1996 I think, in connection with one of my visits to the Medical Center Information Technology Dept at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. His fiery temperament was (and is) propelled by a passionate wish for the world to be a better place. I had not known back then of Matthew’s accomplishments as a composer.
Wed, 11-MAR-2009, P. SanGregory / S. Chien
Nope, stop right there. The English language provides ‘cut-throat’, ‘ruthless’, ‘merciless’, ‘relentless’, ‘callous’, ‘cold-blooded’, ‘dog-eat-dog’, ‘inexorable’, ‘iron-fisted’, and many other terms closer to your probable meaning. In contrast, 'Darwinian' selection includes selection for those who are particularly merciful towards kin and whose genes thus survive more frequently than the selfish. ‘Darwinian biology’, i.e. real biology, observes and explains patterns in nature and does not judge them. Let us stop this misuse of the term [‘Darwinian’]. It’s part of the propaganda of the worldwide anti-science [anti-intellectual] movement ... and it undermines the very civilization which affords us [musicians] our roles.”
Matthew H. Fields, Society of Composers listserve, 11-MAR-2009, commenting on draconian MTSU funding cuts, eliminating ~40 non-tenured faculty positions, including ones in Music.
B orn in 1961, Matthew was trained at Oberlin and Stanford, and received his 1991 DMA/PhD at Univ of Michigan. Among other things, he was involved with the [now-defunct] ‘Just In Time Composers of Boston’. He received first prize in the 1991 composition contest of the Ferruccio Busoni Memorial Society, honorable mention in the Harvey Gaul Composition Competition of Pittsburg New Music Ensemble (2000), second place in the composition competition of the Utah Composers Guild (2002), and was co-winner of the League-ISCM Composer’s Competition (2006). There are a couple of CD recordings of his music that have appeared.
H is chamber music compositions are pretty diverse, but I especially enjoy Matthew’s writing for cello.
[50-sec clip, Matthew Fields, ‘Rollerchant’, 1.2MB MP3]
[50-sec clip, Matthew Fields, ‘Progeny of Memory’, 1.2MB MP3]
A nd I particularly enjoy his frequent interactions on SCI and other composers’ websites. His remarks are always forthright, incisive, and, in general, address these issues:
- Where is composing heading? What is being written and why?
- How is the the art of composing approached today?
- What obstacles are professional and amateur composers facing in today’s society, in North America and elsewhere?
P erfect is the Enemy of Good.”
- Matthew Fields website
- Fields M. Univ Michigan Lectures, 1993. (hosted at cosmoedu.net).
- Houston Sinfonia. Matthew Fields: Sages of Chelm. (Centaur, 2004.)
- SocietyOfComposers.org (SCI)
- International Society for Contemporary Music website
- Cartwright J. Evolution and Human Behavior: Darwinian Perspectives on Human Nature. 2e. MIT, 2008.
- Roughgarden J. The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness. Univ California, 2009.
- NoExtraNotes - Midwest Calendar w/ Matthew Fields performance