So I call for musicians onstage to be separated by gender identity; partway through, all the white players exit, leaving their instruments and setting fire to kindling beneath a trough of water at the stage's edge. I instruct sections of the orchestra to play (passages of individual choice) or silence by gesturing from the audience. I interpret the audience through my body. This is hierarchy, racism, sexism, body essentialism, and climate change balled up in one dangerous, noisy motion.
The icing on the cake was a required recommendation letter "from a composition teacher or music professional" -- as of composers survive by being in school or racking up performance expenses. Here's an excerpt from mine, by Dan Schwartz, a percussionist coworker at the Exploratorium:
"As a professional multi-instrumentalist who has performed everywhere from Tanglewood to IRCAM to the Slut Dungeon, I have never felt more connected to or exhilarated by a single piece of music than when destroying a telephone during a performance of one of Li’s works. Cracking the shell, the interface, excited my salivary glands. Memories of the last time I had lobster. The fumes. The steam. The exhilaration of dropping it live into the boiling pot. Then prying out the buttons with a flat-head screwdriver. The splitting crack as sockets released their organs. [...] When we are thrown into a situation where we are allowed to realize our one shared desire: to go [expletive removed] ourselves. Omphalos."
Thanks, Dan. We wish we could be with the panel as they read our work. Distributive performance art forbids it, alas.