Chinary Ung, winner of the 1989 U of L Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, was quoted in the April 30 issue of The Courier-Journal as having said, "The only reason to write music is to probe deeper into one's own being." He made that statement in response to labels that often categorize composers into what he refers to as meaningless camps.
I, obviously of much lesser musical talent, agree with Mr. Ung about his reason to write music. I search my heart and mind for the words and feeling of a song, usually after a spark of inspiration comes from an idea. However, I believe most of us will agree that, along with the deep satisfaction of the creativity involved, we also envy those who do well enough in writing music to make a living at it. Only then can we concentrate our total efforts into what we enjoy doing as writers. Surely Mr. Ung is being modest when he fails to mention the monetary value even though we may do our best work under pressure or when times are hard or when we squeeze in a little time between family, job and the rat race of life.
I salute Chinary Ung for his outstanding achievement, but I can't help but think that he had the feeling of being on top of the world for a moment (come on, admit it, Mr. Ung) and $150,000 might free up a few minutes more of well-deserved, music-oriented time.