When asking if I am really an Australian composer, and if it mattered all that much anyway, I was asking for trouble. Especially in the week preceding Australia Day. Comments posted to my Facebook page convinced me that when I questioned the value of national identity I did so in a myopia of macro-thinking (thinking “do I represent this nation?”), and was forgetting all about the micro-realities about identity (“do I live in my community?”). Of course it matters if I am Australian to the children from Australia who play my music: me being from where they are from tells them that composers live in their community, which is a double shock to some people (the fact that composers are alive at all, and that they live down the road). It matters to the Kiwi kids who find out I grew up half an hour away from where they live, or I went to school at their high school. Knowing
Previously: A childhood in New Zealand, desperate to start piano lessons so I could compose more easily, not enough books in the school library but plenty of sexism to confront and theology to deconstruct. Growing up on a farm, growing up in a city, sick through enough of my childhood that I didn’t quite expect to grow up. Composing came easily, but what to choose to say to the world, and who to decide to be? Sometimes charting a perilous course between incompatible identities, irreconcilable expectations. Choosing to change the culture. The culture I’m changing in 2009 is the culture of piano teaching (see “P Plate Piano”, “Getting to” and other topics in weeks to come), but this very niche educational market is only one terrain I hope to help change (for the better).