|Robert Schumann, proof that|
emo haircuts can indeed be
effective on 19th-century dudes.
Let's look at the first names of a few famous composers to see if she has a point:
Now let's look at the first names of a few currently popular recording artists:
More than a slight difference, to be honest. There are a few composers with normal names such as Robert, George, and Richard (pronounced with a "k"). There are also a few pop artists with exotic names such as Rihanna and Gaga. But for the most part, my student was correct, and to make matters worse, the great composers are almost always middle-aged men with crazy hair and/or wigs.
Maybe part of the process of composers being accessible has a lot to do with their names sounding, well, normal. Unpretentious.
We finally agreed on a sonatina by Samuel Arnold, as I was able to convince my student that he would have almost certainly been called Sam by his 18th-century London bros.
Finally, I would like to set the record straight with my student, who needs to be assured that there are indeed composers named Jennifer. Here is part of the second movement (aka Fiery Red) of Jennifer Higdon's Piano Trio played by violinist Ryoko Arai, cellist Yuiko Arai, and pianist Gloria Shih:
[Update: Casey McCann has written a very elegant response to this post, which you can read here.]