When you study music pre-professionally, a lot of people tell you your teacher is the most important figure in your life. In many ways, they’re right—our teachers and mentors are the ones who shape and shepherd our artistic development, the ones who help us navigate the often-treacherous waters of academia, and the ones who are supposed to be our biggest cheerleaders.
For many of us, though, that doesn’t turn out to be the case. I still distinctly recall the teacher I studied with in high school telling me I didn’t have the work ethic to major in performance and that composition was the better choice. (For the record, I don’t know how composition requires less work ethic.) I also remember switching teachers during my master’s degree, away from a man who looked down on me for missing notes due to unexpected period cramps and then said, “You have to be careful. This is why some people say women shouldn’t play brass.” His presence in my academic sphere was a big part of why I didn’t come out as genderfluid until after I left CalArts. These teachers were supposed to be my lifelines, my confidants, my champions, and still they told me I wasn’t cut out for what I was doing.
When Cait Krueger showed up in my life asking about a commission, we bonded over mentor figures and other important folks in our lives who time and time again told us we weren’t capable of doing what we’re doing today. I am so lucky to work with so many artists who are carving the paths they want despite powerful figures telling them they should do otherwise, but getting to actively tackle that with Cait has been a unique joy. uncharted is a brief but emotional glimpse into those stories, encroaching on many of the things we aren’t able to speak aloud but that are part of how we succeed: in spite of the people who tell us we can’t.
Run time: approx. 2’40”