Willing amateurs

May 16, 2006

Mel Powell

I’d rather work with a willing amateur than a bored whore.”

[Composer Mel Powell to his student, Les Thimmig in a private lesson in the Yale composition program, ca. 1968.]

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

citrus May 16, 2006 at 9:13 am

Judging by the hair coloring, he really couldn’t quite make up his mind.

Roger Bourland May 16, 2006 at 11:04 am

I’m fairly sure that is was natural. Mel went both ways with music: he was a fairly famous jazz piano player in addition to being a modern composer.

By the way, Les Thimmig was my composition teacher at UW-Madison from 1974-6.

Rosa May 16, 2006 at 5:53 pm

I was studying composition at CalArts when Mel Powell passed away. We missed him, and although I never studied with him (note: he left Yale to found the music program at CalArts in the early 70’s) I still remember that everyone cared deeply about him. He was right up there with Babbitt and Carter.

I have to admit though, I have always felt like and still feel like a bored whore. I didn’t realize Powell put it so eloquently.

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