Queeries for composer Gerald Busby

Gerald Busby (photo by Mia Hanson)

Gerald Busby (photo by Mia Hanson)

Gerald Busby, a native of Texas, graduate of Yale, and protégé of Virgil Thomson, made his professional debut as a composer with a commission from Paul Taylor for the dance RUNES. The work has had nearly 1,000 performances around the world since its Paris premiere and was featured on the PBS series, Great Performances, Dance in America, and recorded on Nonesuch. Other significant collaborations include operas with librettist Craig Lucas and the score to Robert Altman’s film 3 WOMEN. In addition to his more than two hundred concert works in all genres, Busby has portrayed himself and others in films, and been awarded numerous grants, commissions and fellowships from the NEA, the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations among others, as well as residencies at  Macdowell, Yaddo, and Bellagio. Recent Busby held a composer residency at the Dartington International Summer School in Devon that resulted in five concerts and six world premiers.

What are you working on these days?
I’m organizing a concert for my 75th birthday in 2010, all new large ensemble pieces including a piano concerto with a second movement entitled Hommage to Stan Kenton; learning lines for an acting role in a movie called Cafe du diable to be shot in New York in February, 2010; and writing a large choral and orchestral piece commissioned by Ex Cathedra in Birmingham, England for their 2011 season.

Have you ever gotten any advantages because of your sexuality?
When I was in my 30’s and 40’s and giving piano lessons to rich women whose husbands were philanderers and to children of famous musicians and theater people, I would arrive at the Dakota in full cowboy drag, boots to hat.  That got me my first commission and international success.

Are most of your friends from the music world?
No, most of my close friends are writers, choreographers, painters, musicology Ph.D. dropouts, and business men and women.

Do you have a spiritual life?
Yes, I practice Reiki at least two hours each day. I also meditate and chant.

Do you have a mentor?
I had two, Virgil Thomson and Robert Altman.

Do you like to collaborate or be the boss?
Both.  I like to collaborate with geniuses who don’t look over my shoulder.

Do you cook?
Yes, I’m an improvisatory cook and, as with music composition, I like to put things together and turn them into something else.

With what historical figure would you like to have an affair?
Alexander the Great or Kierkegaard.

2 Responses to “Queeries for composer Gerald Busby”

  1. […] on MyBigGayEars: Queeries for Gerald Busby […]

  2. Brutus Jones says:

    Gerald fucking kills it.

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