Thursday, May 21, 2015
So this 2015 Geneva International Competition in Composition has an international jury with five senior composers on it, all male, and the five younger composers selected by that jury as finalists are all male as well. (Thanks for the link, here.) Above and beyond the ridiculousness of plopping down 100 Swiss Francs to participate in a crap shoot like this, I can't hold the finalists responsible for their selection from the paramutual field; indeed, even in a demographically more balanced jury it is possible they might just have been the five to have been selected, but I do think that the organizers of the competition itself as well as the sponsoring Reine Marie José Foundation have some serious explaining to do for selecting an all male jury and each one of the jurors has some explaining to do as to why they accepted a place on an all-male jury. Why did none of these jurors turn down the appointment to the jury and suggest a woman colleague to serve in their place? It's 2015, so I think it's fair to ask Pascal Dusapin, Luca Francesconi, Dai Fujikura, and Wolfgang Rihm why they accepted a place in such a jury and to ask Michael Jarrell why he would accept the chair of such a jury. In the photo, it looks like all five jurors are having a perfectly chummy time together, but come on, it's 2015 and as fair-minded as you each may well be, Gentlemen of the Jury, the optics just don't work anymore, and instead they suggest an atmosphere of, well, chumminess rather than diversity and openness. At the very least, the organizers and the jury owe the finalists an apology, because their selection will forever be discounted by the fact that it was made by an all-male jury, like one of those asterisks after a track record qualifying it because of the altitude, wind direction, absence of competition, or subjective judging.