Rufus Wainwright as a National Treasure

December 6, 2006

rufus_nye.jpgMy friend and colleague, John Hall, always used the term “national treasure” (not Nicholas Cage’s performance) to refer to an important person (in the arts I assumed) who had contributed much to the culture of their time and deserved(s) to be preserved (protected). I look back with shame at artists like Bela Bartok who died in poverty in New York. He should have been identified as a National Treaure and been taken care of completely. Stephen Foster, Scott Joplin, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Ferde Grofe, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon — oh please, the list is endless.

As a full professor of composition at UCLA, I stand up at my imaginary lectern and pronounce to the US Government and the Canadian Government:

[As quirky as he is] Rufus Wainwright should be supported and protected in every way possible––including health and fitness consultants and excluding hard drugs, have a body guard for life, a trust fund tied to compositional output, a team of musical and life helpers who will help him realize everything he needs to accomplish as a composer.

There should be strings attached or at the very least, bonuses for, voice lessons, composition lessons, orchestration lessons, electro-acoustic recording techniques, and piano lessons.

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