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Gene Pritsker | “Courageous Voice” |

by , | Nov 14, 2022 |, Courageous Voice, Listen

“…the truth is that I do write music for one person only to please. I always tell that to everybody….because the art I’m creating is for me, and I hope other people enjoy it.”
– Gene Pritsker

Enjoy this frank, honest, sometimes humorous, always inspiring conversation with composer, guitarist, rapper, teacher, producer Gene Pritkser. He’s also known as a mischief-maker and a cultural blender who has written over 800 compositions. Listen in as Gene opens up about his early life and inspirations, his musical journey as a new music composer, and staying grounded in his artistic vision.

In this episode we chat about:

  • Doing what you love
  • Becoming a “finisher” of projects
  • Inspirations for music creation
  • Pushing artistic boundaries
  • Music making as a model for human relations
  • Creating art for yourself first
  • Film orchestration

You can find Gene, his music, and lots of videos online at or on Spotify and Facebook.

If you want to learn more about traditional and folk music from around the world, check out the website Gene mentioned in this episode –

Today is the day you vow to follow your heart and not your fear. If only it were that easy! The Courageous Voice podcast chronicles international artists, creatives, plus a handful of scientists, and their stories of fear, courageousness and creativity. Hosted by singer, storyteller and self-proclaimed joy spreader, Chanda Rule, The Courageous Voice inspires us to share our voices courageously in spite of our fears through courageous conversation and community.


Chanda: Hello and welcome back to the latest episode of The Courageous Voice Podcast. I’m glad to be back and even more excited to welcome our guest, Gene Pritsker, in the house! Welcome Gene.

Gene: Hey, thank you for having me! Hi Chanda!

Chanda: It’s so great to see you. For those of you that don’t know Gene, Gene is famous. He’s famous. I have a lot of things written down here cause I saw some really cool things online.

So Gene is just a regular guy. He’s a father, he’s a husband, he’s a teacher, but he is also an amazing composer. He has written over 800 pieces. He is a guitarist. He is a rapper, a producer. He has done everything from chamber operas to jazz and hip hop.

Gene: Right.

Chanda: I saw some really interesting things on your website. You’ve been called a mischief-maker and a cultural blender, which I love. , Witty irreverence. Breaking barriers. Audacious- one of my favorite words. So this is Gene. We’re gonna get into it today. All these things. I love audacious. Listen, there are so many things that you’re doing, and I’m just wondering which one of these things was your first love?

Gene: Ah, okay. First love, like musically, right? We’re talking music. When I was a young kid, like four years old, my parents started me off on the violin, and I was really terrible, but I wouldn’t give up. But I had no ear, so it was really hard to like, at age four, to learn the violin.

So at one point I discovered the guitar and I didn’t wanna quit violin, but I didn’t know how to like, tell my parents I wanna switch. I’m like, "Is it okay if I switch to the guitar?" And they’re like, "Yes!" cause they hated me hearing me practice violin. They weren’t gonna tell me to quit, obviously. They didn’t know how to make me stop and I would just practice all the time, but I was really bad, and I’m sure it was hard for them to live with the house with bad violin practice. So then when I picked up the guitar, they were very happy. Even if I was playing loud, heavy metal, that’s fine. At least it wasn’t out-of-tune violin.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: So the guitar was my first love. The violin wasn’t my love; I was just doing it cause I wouldn’t give up.

Like I don’t give up. But then I had to just replace it with something, and the guitar was my first love and I really loved it. I wanted to play really fast, like all the heavy metal guys. And I got into that for a little bit as a young teenager.

That’s what you do, right? You find something that you really like and you try to get better. And I did. I got really good at it, and that led me to find my true passion, which was composition. Cause after that, I got further into guitar and studied classic guitar and then realized this is not for me… sitting around practicing other people’s music. I don’t know if you know about classic guitar, but it’s the most stressful instrument. You’re just on stage with this guitar and everything’s gotta be perfect and everybody can hear every little detail. And these classic guitarists- they sit around and they devote their life to perfection and memorizing this music.

And this was just never my interest. I loved the guitar, but doing that type of thing was not me. But at the same time, I discovered how I really love writing music, and I got my first hit. The high of hearing somebody else play. You’re sitting at home and you’re putting little black dots onto white paper. Before computers, we had still paper and pencil and paper…

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: And then those little black dots becoming real music and sounds and hearing what you had in your head become real… and other people are doing it. And you’re sitting there, and you’re the composer now.

That first hit of that high- when it happened I was in high school a couple of times.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: And that’s it. I’ve been chasing that ever since. That’s why I have a lot of compositions. Cause that’s all I do is I write music, and people perform it, and I’m constantly high.

Chanda: Okay. This is interesting that you’re studying classical guitar and you didn’t find like that passion playing, but you obviously found a passion for classical music, or was that always a big part of your life?

Gene: I was– yeah, like I said, I was playing violin at the age of four, so obviously it was classical music. And going to ballet. I was born in Russia, so my mother would take me to the ballet, and my father was a jazz musician, so I would listen to jazz music.

This is Soviet Russia, 1970, whatever, there was no real pop.

Chanda: 1970, whatever… okay.

Gene: I was born in ’71——

Chanda: I’m kidding, I’m kidding!

Gene: I dunno, when did I really start listening? Year 5 – ’76? Or, I don’t know. So there was not so much music to hear, but the classical music was definitely part of Russian history.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: The jazz music actually was not really allowed, but my father was able to smuggle it. Everybody had to smuggle. But I didn’t really hear that type of pop music or metal music until I came to America, but I was still- I was too young. Anyway, I was seven. My tastes were just beginning to really form of what I like, not what my parents are telling me to like. But I was exposed to everything.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: So I’m an eclectic composer. I tell people that’s how I describe myself. And really it’s because I was able to… that’s how I grew up. I grew up within all different types of music.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: That’s how I hear music.

That’s why I live in New York because New York, to me, is this eclectic… you know, you lived in New York. You walk down the street and you hear and feel, and different cultures and musical genres and artistic genres and just the architectural genres. There’s a melting pot of genres, which I love. That’s what I do artistically all the time. Yeah.

Chanda: So you said something interesting about when you were a little baby, a baby boy, for playing violin. And you’re talking about how you’re playing this instrument and you’re like "okay, it’s not sounding"— I guess you probably had some idea cause you’ve seen something and you’re like— but you you don’t wanna give up on it.

And this is something that like has, I’m assuming, has really carried through in your life. Because I remember the first time I came to your house, and this was a long time ago, and I think you were, at that time, between three and five hundred compositions. And I had my mouth like on my chest. I’m like, what?

So what is that? Did your parents really work to cultivate this? My mother calls this sticktoitiveness. She made this word up. But this is a big thing. It’s okay, right? Sticktoitiveness.

Gene: Yeah.

Chanda: Is this something you think you were born with or was this something that’s in your family culture? Cause this is super important, I think.

Gene: I think, as anything, it’s both nature and nurture.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: My parents, my father, did always say "if you start something, finish it." That was definitely a thing.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: It wasn’t about "stick to something no matter what." It wasn’t about that. It was about "if you’re gonna start something, take it to the end. So I maybe took that to a further thing than he even taught me. But there must still be a nature thing in me where I grab onto something and then you have to super focus. I don’t know, I think I’m bad and focusing on things I don’t like.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: But things that I do like, I am super-duper focused.

Chanda: Hyper-focus.

Gene: Yeah. Hyper. Yeah. Whatever they diagnose kids with…

Chanda: Oh, ADHD.

Gene: Yeah, yeah – where they can’t really focus on math. And I was terrible, like in high school, but on music I could, like, for five hours, it’s like sitting super focused.

Chanda: Yeah.

Gene: I think it’s that. I definitely have that. I was never diagnosed. In the seventies, nobody was diagnosing that. So that’s the nature part of it, I think.

Chanda: Okay. Alright. So I’m curious you out of these over 800 compositions…

Gene: Yeah.

Chanda: How many are in circulation?

Gene: I do say that out of the 800, over three quarters have been performed. So some might have been performed once, some might have been performed 10 times. In circulation, everybody’s playing ’round midnight. I don’t have anything..

Chanda: No, that’s not what I mean.

Gene: Yeah, yeah.

Chanda: So that was the wrong word.

Gene: Yeah, yeah. But definitely over three quarters, so maybe, I don’t know, 600-something, plus——

Chanda: That is insane.

Gene: ——have been performed. Because, as a youngster, I was writing music just to write music, and without any performance. But now that I run these organizations, and I tour, and blah blah, all my music I’m writing at the moment and always is for a performance.

Chanda: Oh my god..

Gene: It’s performed. It took a while to get to that point, but that’s the point I always wanted to be at. I write music; people perform it. Constantly and consistently.

Chanda: That is insane. And I was gonna ask you… you’re already talking about your inspiration being culture, being in New York. After you were in Russia, you moved to New York and that was that right?

Gene: Yeah, I moved to Brooklyn and lived there until I was 18. And then ran away from there, when I got into Manhattan School music, as soon as possible. I grew up in the projects and that’s like the nicest—— I mean, I was the music guyso nobody messed with me. That was cool. But it was, you know, it was like the ’80s projects in Brooklyn. It wasn’t like the nicest place in the world. It was fine. And my high school- I think that they tore it down now; they said "forget it." When I went to college, it was the first high school on the front page of New York Times for a shooting.

Apparently, believe it or not, there was no shootings in high schools. That wasn’t a thing; now it’s a common thing. Like it happens here and there. So they were the first in New York. Somebody got shot inside the high school. And I’ll have to research it, but this is what I remember and I was like, "What? Really?" And we already had metal detectors there when I went there

Chanda: Oh my God.

Gene: I don’t know if it’s just in New York or in the country. I have to research, I don’t know, I’m not sure.

Chanda: It was violence, but there wasn’t a lot of that.

Gene: Guns weren’t as prevalent, maybe.

Chanda: Definitely not.

Gene: So I grew up there, and in a way it was a great environment because it wasn’t easy, so you had a little struggle. And I think for any artist, it’s good to have a little something.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: But looking back on it, you’re like, "not, everything is rosy and peaches, and you have to get through sh*t.

Chanda: Mmhmm.

Gene: I love to curse. Sorry, I take it back.

I actually just did a live radio interview; it was live and I said "sh–" but then I quickly said, "shoot" again. I repeated the sentence with, "shoot."

Chanda: That’s okay.

Gene: Yeah. And then I moved to Manhattan, and I’ve been, ever since, here.

Chanda: It’s been a minute. And I’m asking because you’re talking about this this cultural blend that is in New York. However, when I think about how people apply this to artistry, and specifically within classical music, I feel like you are really pushing boundaries. I’m just wondering, when you’re saying that sometimes hard life experience adds to artistic expression…

But it seems like you cultivated so much courage — which is what this podcast is about — maybe in these experiences, to really push. Because, this idea of taking these compositions, these well known classical compositions, and blending them with hip hop… you know, I’ve performed with Gene, so I’ve been places where you’ve gotten standing ovations, and I’ve also been in concert where people have got up and left. But yet you continue going and you continue pushing these boundaries and I’m just wondering, what is the inspiration behind that? And what are you getting at? Is it just what you feel like doing, or is there something else that is driving this motivation to do this?

Gene: Sometimes if I have students, I do ask them the very strange question of "why?" Like, why are you writing ? Like, why? They’re not prepared for it; what do you mean why?

But it is a question you, as an artist– like you just writing cause you want to is not enough, so you have to have some kind of philosophy, some kind of idea. But the truth is that I do write music for one person only to please. I always tell that to everybody. So people are leaving, or they’re applauding – very nice. They’re leaving? Too bad; see you later.

But really, if I’m pleased with it, it’s great. When I say it, it sounds weird, but really I do say that because art I’m creating is for me, and I hope other people enjoy it.

But for me, that mixture of cultures and genres and different approaches to music… for me that was just always a very natural thing. And like I said, I love cities like New York, where that’s just a part of life. So you know, I definitely think about that.

And there’s also this other question that I like to ask myself. The "what if" question. Like what if you take this, and you mix with this. Like think of two of the weirdest things- you know, Puccini and heavy metal, okay? Those two things shouldn’t mix. Let’s make a song out that. Or I don’t know, whatever. African music and Stavinsky – does that work? I don’t know. Okay, yeah! African rhythms over Stavinsky melodies. You did that with me once; that was fun!. Everybody’s sang along. Stuff like that.

So I do that in my compositions. Sometimes I just sit around and listen to other cultures that I don’t know. There’s a great website, and it’s just a big map, and you click on the map – anywhere on the map – and they’ll play you the traditional music from that region.

Chanda: Okay, what website is this? That sounds awesome!

Gene: It is, it’s very cool. I’m sitting around listening to music from Morocco or whatever- and just listening; not trying to copy that music. I’m not gonna be an expert in that music, but I will get inspired. It’s called, and it’s a map and you go around to some little country in Africa you’ve never heard of and you press it and all of a sudden, you’re like "wait, this is quite different than what I think."

Chanda: Yeah.

Gene: And you just get inspired by these things. You just listen to different cultures and different approaches to creating music.

Chanda: No, I love this for so many reasons, because I literally believe that music is one of the last things that we have in humanity that is able to blend difference in a way that can really appeal to our intelligence, but our artistic intelligence, in a way that makes sense. I think that we can’t really make sense of difference, especially cultural difference. Like it’s just hard for us to mentally intellectualize this.

Yet you’re able to take these different types of music, or, even within a song… and that’s why I love jazz, like with improvisation and dissonance.

We’re taught we have to make nice if we’re getting along. We’re not really taught how to have dissonance with each other and still create something beautiful with our relationships. And so I feel like what you’re doing is taking it a step further.

Gene: Yeah. Absolutely. I think… music being called the universal language, right? Everybody knows, even if you’ve only heard one type of musical all your life, you know the things it’s made up of. So you hear another music that’s very different; it sounds very different, maybe weird to you, but you understand what’s happening, right? You understand there’s people playing some kind of instrument that you never heard before.

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this, that when Indian people first heard Beethoven, it really sounded like noise to them.

Chanda: Uhhuh.

Gene: Because those big harmonies just didn’t register in their mind as music. But they understood that it’s somebody trying to make music; they’re just not succeeding in the way they think music should be made. It sounds awful, but after a while they, they got into it.

And actually I had that experience too, as a kid. I heard Stravinsky’s Right Of Spring, which is one of my favorite pieces, and it did sound like noise to me.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: I was just not ready for it. I was too young. I guess a lot of people shy away from it. I started listening to it over and over again.

Chanda: Yeah.

Gene: Until it sounded like something, because other people think this is great. Why can’t I understand why this is great?

Chanda: Yes.

Gene: So if you come, I think, with that type of attitude to anything — to other people — we could really get rid of racism, we could get rid of prejudice. We get rid of so many awful things in our society. If you’re just open; if you just say to yourself "other people have appreciated this, why can’t I?"

It’s not wrong something wrong with them- there’s something not yet right with you.

Chanda: I think that these can be great models and because, like you said, people are so open to music, I think the more that we draw these parallels, the more people can be open to these concepts. So yeah.

Gene: And like you said it does backfire, as you mentioned. Because the idea is to have somebody who likes opera and hears the mix with hip hop to start liking hip hop, and somebody who likes hip hop hears opera and starts liking opera. But mostly, of course, people don’t like either in the end; don’t like me or don’t like what I’m doing.

So mostly there’s a resistance to that, like you said, and I understand that. And even School Of Music… when I went there and we had these concerts for composers, and I brought a heavy metal piece – all written out, everything notated, just like any string quartet – I got in trouble!

Chanda: You did? Okay!

Gene: Yeah.

Chanda: What kind of trouble? I’m curious.

Gene: The head of the department had me come in. The head of composition department said "Gene, one of the teachers said that,’ if Gene ever has a piece in a concert again, he’s not coming on this.’"

And I said "professor, is my tuition paid? Everything cool?"

Chanda: I love this!

Gene: End of this conversation. But they did not accept me back for masters, I think because of that one teacher, which is fine. Which was probably a good thing for me anyway. Who needs to sit in a college?

Chanda: Okay. So I hope that those of you who are students are listening to this. I think it’s also challenging for a lot of students who are doing original music in Vienna because I think a lot of the music is very open, yet the foundation is still very classical. And so there’s pushback. And so what I would love for people to hear is this story.

And now tell us about what you’re doing! Because you are like composing for film. You are composing for multiple projects because you stood firm in who you are, and you know who you are. And like you’re saying, you’re composing this music for yourself and sharing it; sharing your artistic expression, instead of trying to do what a lot of us do, me included – composing because you know that this person is going to like this, or this person is gonna book this, or this is going to be popular.

Tell us what you’re doing now.

Gene: I don’t know. The thing is, I was never gonna sit around and wait for other people to discover me, or do stuff for me. So I was always just doing everything myself, and I’m still doing everything myself. And sometimes it’s more successful, sometimes less. But everything I did has led to other things where I did meet people.

So I’m not a film composer and I am not interested in movie music. I never was- I was never a film guy at all——

Chanda: However…

Gene: However I have this group called Absolute Ensemble with my friend Kristjan. And Kristjan met this one guy and they asked Absolute Ensemble to be part of this movie. I think in America it was totally a dud, but in Europe and Russia it’s huge. It’s called Perfume Story of a Murderer.

So the ensemble’s gonna play in the movie, and Kristjan said "can you get make sure that my friend Gene, who’s the composer- he’s gonna orchestrate," and they’re like, "Oh, I don’t know…" they don’t know who Gene is, like, "fine, whatever." And then what I did, they liked so much that they actually got rid of all their other orchestrators. And now I’ve been their orchestrator for 15 years, and we’ve been doing movies.

But I really was not there to impress them. I was not really interested in movie music. I’m like, Oh yeah, this is fun. And then I did some weird stuff with the orchestration, which is why I got the job. I definitely was not trying to be a Hollywood orchestrator to get this job to work with them. I was just working with my group, with Kristjan, and I did some crazy orchestrations. It was taking a chance, not a chance. Cause I really didn’t care if I got the job. So it wasn’t even a chance. I was just showing that this is what I do, this is what I like. And they just happened to really like it.

And we’ve been working together for 15 years, and the last project we did together was The Matrix Resurrections. This big show movie that was out. And we do this big series, which is famous in your part of the world- it’s called Babylon Berlin. So that’s another one. And we do a bunch of other stuff, but those are like the big ones recently. Babylon Berlin is about to have its new season, so check it out! And I do have fun doing it because the team I work with, these guys they’re friends of mine- they’re very cool and we are able to do stuff.

But I’m not in Hollywood hustling and trying to do that, which a lot of people do, and that’s cool. And actually a lot of people I went to school with, that’s all they wanted to do. And a lot of them succeeded. Some of them are there and that’s what they’re doing. That’s cool. But I just had zero interest in movies, because writing movie music is literally the opposite of what I do.

Because the music is first and everything else second. Here it’s the music has to support a different art form, a lot of different art forms. Which is very hard. I don’t even know how to do it. I have film music students and I tell ’em, "I don’t know anything about this; let’s figure this out together." Yeah, that’s the first thing I said. Cause it’s really the opposite of what I do. It’s really hard to write music to support another art, and not be too complicated. So my music usually doesn’t work for film. The guys I work with are very good at that. I’m not.

Chanda: Okay. All of this is interesting because again, even though this is not something that you are seeking out…

Gene: Yeah.

Chanda: you’ve been doing it for 15 years. And you just started working at Juilliard in film as a teacher- as a professor- of film composition, is that correct?

Gene: Orchestration, film orchestration, yes.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: Which is what I do. That’s my main thing is I orchestrate for movies. I don’t really write; I’m not scoring. I’m their orchestrator, and then they’ll put some stuff of mine once in a while that’s not too crazy. Which is not so much of my stuff.

Chanda: Alright, so what’s the main thing that you’re working on with your students? Because I think we had a conversation about this a couple months ago- about what you were telling your students, which still stands out in my head… about opportunity and about getting somewhere with their art. I would love to chat about that cause, just like you said right now- you’re figuring things out, let’s figure it out together. But one thing that you said to me is that you share with your students if somebody asks you to——

Gene: I’ll tell you the quote. It’s a quote.

Chanda: Okay!

Gene: The quote is by my friend Mark Kostabi. He was a very famous and wonderful artist and composer and pianist. And Mark always says, "Say less and say yes."

Chanda: Yes.

Gene: So "say less and say yes" is just a great mantra for life, especially for an artist because I think sometimes you know how to do something and you’re good at it. Like you’re a great singer. And then somebody will come to you and say, Chanda, I want you to sing this opera. And maybe when you were younger, you’d shy away from that. But you could do it. It’d just be a new skill that you would have to learn.

Like when I think we first met, you weren’t very confident in reading music. That wasn’t like your forte. And then after we worked a bunch with me and Dave Taylor, all of a sudden Chanda’s reading everything. So it was just like an addition to your skill that you already have.

So I tell these students "basically I’m teaching you how to teach yourself." So if somebody says, "Okay, I need a Calypso arrangement for this…" Now, you’ve never written Calypso. You ‘re not even sure exactly what Calypso is. But do not say any of this! Say "yes, when is it due?" and then go and study.

And now you’re getting paid to actually go and study this brand new art form that you don’t know about. They just wanna hear something that sounds close. So you go and figure out what calypso music is, what makes the properties of calypso music. Get into the rhythms, get into the harmonies, get into the melodies. You’re smart, you know about music. You’re not starting from zero. You’ll get there. And then write something kind of like that, and I promise you it’ll be fine.

I was trying to get my friend the gig on this one movie thing and he started down that road like "nobody’s interested." I’m like, "you don’t need be from Puerto Rico here, whatever. It’s cool. Just play. You know how to play a Latin beat. It’s gonna be perfect! And he was. He took the job. I had to convince him.

Chanda: No, I get that.

Gene: You know what I’m saying? So I think use it as a learning opportunity, and look, if you fail, you’ll fail. You’ll be fine. You’ll recover. It happens. It could be bad cause they won’t hire you back and all that stuff. But if you don’t try, you won’t even know. And you won’t learn.

Chanda: Oh God. Yeah. No, I love that. I love this. Listen, I have one more question. Tell me about Composers Concordance, and how you got into that. Composers Concordance was around at some point, and then you stepped into a leadership position there. So what is Composers Concordance

Gene: Composers Concordance is a group that was started in 1984 by two composers, a Joe Pehrson and Patrick Hardish, and Joe Pehrson I met when I was in my younger days in Manhattan when I was in my younger days in Manhattan when I was still a student and he was kind of a little mentor to me. And they would play my music with Composers Concordance, and [they were] some of the first groups to actually present my– like, serious groups –to present my music. And Joseph unfortunately died during Covid. He actually got covid and died.

But at one point he asked me to become an Associate Director, and I started producing some concerts, cause the group was really into kind of 20th century contemporary music, like Berio and Stockhausen. And he saw that I was taking that, but taking it to the next levels and incorporating other musicians; other genres. And he was interested in me doing that. So now the group is totally eclectic, but I did that slowly. And at one point he retired- both of them retired- and I took over, and I got my friend Dan Cooper to be my co-director.

So now it’s been, I don’t know how many seasons… must be at least 15, 20 seasons. And we’ve been leading the group, and now, we’re producing about 45 plus concerts a year. So a lot of concerts.

Chanda: Nice.

Gene: Like this week I have three.


There’s always a concert with Composers Concordance here in the New York. Mostly in the New York area. We have one in Berlin coming up in November. But yeah, and we just produce concerts. We present over a hundred composers a year, and I have a piece in every concert because…. because.

Chanda: Because why not?

Gene: Because I could.

Chanda: Because there’s 800 of them.

Gene: We just had one on Saturday, which was very successful. It’s called PPP: Pianos, Poems, and Paintings.

Chanda: Nice.

Gene: All three things were presented at Mark Kostabi’s house with a lot of great pianists and poets and painters. It was fun.

Chanda: That’s awesome. Alright, so I really wanna encourage you all to check out Gene’s music. Just Google him.

Gene: Google me.

Chanda: Gene, what’s the name of your podcast? Cause you also have a podcast. I’ve listened to a couple episodes.

Gene: I do. It’s called Composers With Drinks Listening To Music.

Chanda: Yeah.

Gene: You know what it’s about? It’s about composers with drinks listening to music. We sit around, we get drunk, and we listen to music.

Chanda: And the other thing- last time we talked, you were telling me about this, and how you were just really doing your part to diversify new music, and really being conscious about who you are inviting, or who you’re playing on this show.

Gene: Absolutely.

Chanda: And so I think that is awesome. So I just wanna encourage folks to support.

Gene: Absolutely. It happens that there’s not so many women in new music. There are, but there’s just not so many. There’s not so many people of other races in contemporary music. So I try to be as inclusive as possible and be conscious, from concert-to-concert, that we represent people. It doesn’t always happen, but I definitely try. Sometimes it’s really hard and sometimes it’s because I’ll reach out to some composers, who are not like just white males, and they can’t do it.

And I have like X amount to reach out to, but that’s cool. Cause we offer what we offer. So maybe they got better offers and that’s cool. But I’m definitely always looking out for the younger ones who are trying. So if you’re a young female composer and are interested, reach out.

And the thing is, I think what composers don’t know is a lot of groups, like my group- if you just reach out to them and say, "Hi, I’m here, I’m interested," and be part of the scene for a second, you’ll get performed. That’s really the best way. If you’re sitting around waiting for people to come to you, it’s less likely.

Get out there and just throw your music at people. You don’t have to be nasty about it, but definitely share. Share your music with people as much as you can. And put it online. Just don’t worry about it. Share it around. You’re not gonna make money selling it, I promise, so you might as well just get it out there and get it performed. You make more money that way.

Chanda: Oh my god, I love that. This is a great way to close- a great tip. Get your music out there. This is your gift. Get it out there and share it with the world.

Gene: Yes.

Chanda: Oh my gosh.

Gene: Exactly. Exactly.

Chanda: Thank you, thank you! Thank you so much, Gene! You can find Gene on his website, It’ll be in the show notes. Where else can we find you?

Gene: You could go to Spotify, of course. You know, all the links are there. YouTube…

Chanda: Spotify, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook.

Gene: I don’t do Instagram so much.

Chanda: Okay.

Gene: Facebook, I do a lot. I like Facebook. Friend me on Facebook. I’ll always friend you back, unless you’re trying to sell me stuff. Or maybe- unless you sell me nice shirts, I find all these shirts…

Chanda: You heard it here: "find me on Facebook unless you’re trying to sell me stuff." Hashtag. Alright.

Gene: Hashtag, exactly.

Chanda: Alright, thank you. Thank you so much. We have enjoyed you. Tell your friends, and we hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and we will see you in another two weeks, or hear from you in another two weeks. Thank you so much.

Gene: Thanks, Chanda.

Chanda: Bye.

Gene: Bye.