The Isolated Composer
I built my Composer Isolation Chamber in 1987 and stocked it with complimentary computers from the Tandy Corporation. These computers are obsolete only in the sense that there is nothing else like them! They are extraordinary sinetone-powered devices, able to execute even my most complicated musical procedures, which are beyond human capacity. I haven’t completely shut out the hustle and bustle of recitals and concerts, but, having converted this former fallout shelter into a space for creative and mathematical thinking, I need not concern myself with the inadequacies of common performing musicians.
Occasionally I allow my students to use the Composer Isolation Chamber for a small rental fee, and a prime number of them have indicated that it is indeed a fine workspace – inspiring but not necessarily in a banal, inspirational sort of way; comforting in its constant claustrophobic sameness. It is a space where a composer feels free, in part because he is confined by so many limitations. For as the great composer, Held Projansky, once said, “Music always has the potential to be free, but first it must be notated correctly.”