Being on this grant has kicked in my "I deserve to be here!" self-advocacy gene into overdrive. Being surrounded by so many talented and brilliant scientists, sociologists and political scientists, and artists can give a guy a bit of a complex.
Some parts of this proposal are going amazingly--namely the music side. It's astounding what setting aside huge amounts of time can do for your artistic output! The interviewing side started out seemingly strong, disappeared, and I'm now starting on what was my "original plan" of finding the underground scene, talking people up, and getting ingratiated into the scene. Had to recalibrate my expectations after the start.
As for musically, I'm on the final page of drawing notation for a commission--I used this commission to work on all the skills I'll need to finish my dissertation, namely algorithmic composition, stochastic control processes, graphic and proportional notation, and translating all my crazy handwritten stuff more directly into a digital score than what Sibelius was ever able to produce. The big things for me were the programming and drawing program use--my control programming has always been shit, with most of my good programming coming in the way of synth building for performance (so putting all the controls for someone else to use, not developing several patches of "if this happens, do these things). As for using a drawing program, well...it's all still really blocky looking, but it's leagues better than it was on my earlier scores where I would do it in Sibelius, export a graphic, import it into another program, resize oddly, etc...It was inefficient and of not great quality. Now I just need to work on making my drawn scores look less blocky, and more fluid. Since I'm not an artist by trade, this will be a huge difficulty...
But with the commission almost finished, thought I'd post this: quick hit list of what I've accomplished in 2 months here
1) realized how difficult it is to get interviews, even from people saying "yeah, totally!"
2) worked heavily on my control programming skills in Pd and Max
3) honed my skills in Inkscape
4) Found a free program that creates VPNs so I can direct connect with people on other computers wherever they might be
5) found a crazy sci-fi epic poem/opera that it seems like every Swedish composer knows about, but no one has ever seen since its premiere. It's entitled Aniara, and I'll be dissecting this bad boy during my time here for sure! And doing my damnedest to stage a US production someday.
6) mastered an album
7) Listened all the way through November twice over a 2 day period. Great album R. Andrew Lee, Irritable Hedgehog, and all the amazing people involved.
8 ) listened to far more contemporary music than I ever did "in school," so much so that I gave up keeping track when I almost finished my fourth page of listing research materials
9) wrote 10 minutes of music, 20 pages on the libretto, and who knows how many pages in blogposts (that are relevant if for no other reason they allow me to gather my own thoughts).
10) watched several documentaries on Scandinavian heavy metal
12) have gone to more live shows that I didn't work in some capacity than I had in the past year
13) Eaten a whole lot of pizza
14) Pulled stops on an organ built in 1728! And explained a bit of the inner workings of organs to scientists who asked difficult technical questions.
15) Applied for a bunch of jobs, because this Fulbright, sadly, doesn't last forever...
16) Read Formalized Music by Xenakis, stole his ideas, and incorporated them into a piece that he would undoubtedly have disapproved of greatly.