International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

The Superstar Composing Machine: Capitalism, Identity, Politics
Sally Macarthur

The identity of the composer is pivotal to Western art music but the privileged model of the heroic/superstar composer stifles creativity. Drawing on Deleuze’s concepts of assemblage and machine, the article situates the heroic/superstar composer assemblage in the capitalist framework. It discusses the case of composer John Adams (b. 1947) and Elena Kats-Chernin (b. 1958), suggestingfor the latter that the instrument of gender mainstreaming subjugates the exceptionally gifted woman. New possibilities emerge when the composing assemblage becomes disengaged from the capitalistic machinic assemblage and the privileged site of the superstar identity. Two examples are highlighted: the Sydney-based community arts venue, The Red Rattler, and the Brisbane-based contemporary music ensemble, Topology.

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