I’m writing from Sicily, where I just arrived with my ensemble, the Michael Gordon Band. We’re playing a concert at the Etna Festival in Catania. As I’m sitting here in this beautiful Italian hotel, I’m thinking about how lucky I am to be able to travel around the world playing music. There’s no way that this could be possible without the weighty investment that most Western and Asian countries make in the arts. Those of us who perform and compose semi-popular music — that is, experimental, art, classical and jazz — cannot survive in the free market like rock, urban and country musicians do. Although there is a fan base for these more esoteric types of music that numbers in the millions, it just doesn’t add up to the large CD sales and stadium tours that the popular music stars enjoy. (…)
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