To compose new music, she watched 100 hours of racist and anti-women films

To compose new music, she watched 100 hours of racist and anti-women films


norman lebrecht

May 30, 2021

From this week’s Van magazine:

“I’d never thought that my identity as a queer woman could have such a strong influence on my work as a composer,” composer Sara Glojnarić recently told VAN. “It’s actually a typically ‘western’ thought, that one shouldn’t incorporate the personal into the musical. I’d considered these to be two separate things.”

Born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1991, Glojnarić (who now lives in Stuttgart) adds that growing up in a patriarchal society, and the “internalized misogyny” that came with it, was a big influence. But having a teacher who challenged those gender norms was even bigger. She tells Hannah Schmidt about this, along with working in what she calls New Music 3.0, and the 100+ hours of racist and anti-feminist propaganda she watched on YouTube for her works “#popfem” and “#popfem2.”

Read on here.



  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    I don’t understand why these days complete strangers have to announce who/what they are. Who gives a flying f***? Just get on with it and sing, dance, act, compose, be and don’t bore us with unnecessary information.
    Yes I am old!

    • John Borstlap says:

      The point is, that quite a number of people discover that they are limited in their personal and professional life by prejudices of other people about personal aspects which are entirely irrelevant to them – i.e. to those other, limiting people. Therefore, attention is drawn in exaggerated ways to force biassed, ignorant people to correct their prejudices and to read a book instead of expressing their displeasure. This goes for people of colour, minorities of amorous preferences, people from certain cultures or countries, people with quite different eye forms than Western ones, etc. etc.

      The absurdities of today have their origin in absurdities of the past.

      • Will Wilkin says:

        Yes John, that is why the various liberation movements of the 1950s -1970s were necessary in USA and probably (though relatively unknown to me) Europe (Latin America still seemingly overdue). But it becomes a problem when the liberation movements, necessary in their moment, crystalize into permanent identity politics that now feel as if they will become permanent divisions rather than unifying reconciliations.

  • James Weiss says:

    It must be exhausting playing the victim all the time. I know I find just reading about these sad people quite tiresome. They must be in a state of perpetual “meghanism” finding racism and mysoginy behind every door.

    • Karl says:

      You should read my local liberal rag. They are constantly finding sexism everywhere: The military, the police and now even the craft beer industry! We live in a victimhood culture.

      • BrianB says:

        While pointedly ignoring the real, destructive sexism (men taking over women’s sports.)

        • Saxon says:

          Except these “men” claim to be “women”, and lots of people accept their claim (even if you don’t) and accept them to be women.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But we have to be vigilant! I always carry pepper spray when going to work & merely showing it in my handback helps to prevent unwelcome commentary on my tiping skils.


  • Couperin says:

    That’s wonderful, but how’s the music?

  • ‘Queerness’ ≠ Talent says:

    Since this kind of “music” is only ever “composed” – let alone talked about seriously at self-aggrandizing lengths – by someone with desperate for attention, I’m quite certain Miss Glosnaric will be refreshing this page every few minutes for the next several days. One can be totally sure she will see and practically memorize the comments here.

    So, Sara, when you observe in this silly fluff piece that “What I do see, however, is that in our system we don’t have the same amount of power as other art forms. And I don’t know why that is—the aesthetics? The scene? I’m still trying to figure out the reason.”

    Here is the reason. Take a selfie (I’m sure this, too, is a daily or hourly occurrence for you) and look at the person in the picture. See that person? Congratulations! You found the reason.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Here is one of the products of such effort:

    That’s what you get after half a century nonsense by untalented people, kept alive with nonsensical theory, in a society where a majority thinks that any idea is as good as another and that any standard is a form of suppression.

    The lady might be better helped by some therapy instead of embarking on a ‘musical’ career.

  • RW2013 says:

    She should have been made to listen to 100 hours of new music.

    • John Borstlap says:

      There is an experimental research project going-on since 3 months at the Texas Institute of Technology, to find-out to which degree people’s delinquent mindset is improved by music. It appears that postmodern conceptual artists like Mrs Glojnarić are cured by one week of 10 daily non-stop hours of forced listening to Xenakis (strapped on a chair), after which they desperately long for some Mozart which suddenly has acquired a new meaning for them.

      Criminals however feel strongly reinforced by Xenakis and afterwards go on a burglary spray with an intensity as never before experienced. The new group of testees – partaking this July – will consist of contributors to the SD comments sections, and will be subjected to video clips of conceptual punk sound artist Olga Neuwirth, to measure blood presure and conscience implosion.

      • V.Lind says:

        “10 daily non-stop hours of forced listening to Xenakis” is banned under the International Convention on Human Rights.

        Ten minutes of this woman’s output and I’d tell them everything…

  • Rob says:

    I prefer this one, it made me giggle and without alcohol

    • John Borstlap says:

      It’s rebbelious satire, intended to undermine any credibility of feminism and queer theory.

    • Marfisa says:

      Priceless! And the accompanying description:

      “Artefacts #2 represents a crossover between two conceptual pools I have been generating compositional materials from – sugarcoating series, which deals with parametrical aspects of pop music (reduction and homogenization of pitch, rhythm and texture, repetitions) and Artefacts series, that plays with immediate and secondary nostalgia that pop music evokes. This performatively demanding piece, builds itself upon a list of Top 20 Drum Intros, mostly taken from famous 80’s and 90’s rock songs, from bands/performers such as The Police, Nirvana, U2, Iggy Pop, Toto etc. All pieces in the Artefacts series are accompanied by a Spotify playlist (titled “Artefacts Playlists) which can be expanded by other users and their nostalgic references.”

      To be fair, it does look very difficult to perform.

      Here are the full eleven plus minutes:

    • Dan says:

      My new ringtone!

    • V.Lind says:

      Yes, Rob, but you do realise that she expects people to pay money and go out and sit and listen to this dreck?

  • Shalom Rackovsky says:

    How many SD readers are familiar with the IMSL/Petrucci online music library? If you aren’t, you should be. The actual scores of an unbelievable number of compositions are available there, for free- although the nominal annual membership fee is an important and worthwhile contribution:

    The site makes available the works of 22,311 composers. Visit the site. See how many of them you have heard, or even know about. See how many of them ANYONE has heard, or even knows about.

    Quality and time are efficient and ruthless determinants of success. No amount of talk, or writing, about music will guarantee immortality, or even long-term interest. Nor does being white, black, male, female or other guarantee immortality, or even long-term interest. Only the music counts.

    • RW2013 says:

      imslp is my life.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Music practice functions quite differently. None of the music counts, but the wrapping paper: whether it’s white, black, male, female, queer, rebellious, anti-something, social injustice fighting, progress mongering, sound art, etc.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      That’s the result of thousands of new composers being graduated every single year.

      • John Borstlap says:

        With the deletion of the notion of standards, aesthetic or otherwise, anything goes, so conservatories and music faculties earn quite some money with accepting students who have nothing better to do. The same with the established academies for the visual arts – you don’t learn drawing, painting, imagining, etc., but conceptual art theory.

        • Saxon says:

          Bore-slap writes: “With the deletion of the notion of standards, aesthetic or otherwise, anything goes”

          Heck, even you have a chance…

  • My wife Abbie and I have never participated in Europe’s new music world even though we have lived here for 42 years. Its cluelessly male orientation does not appeal to us. I think, for example, of media artist Stahl Stenslie’s statement in the program book of the 2000 Ars Electronica Festival that “even rape can be an art creational strategy.” Or I think of a talk given in 2017 at the Zentrum für Kunst and Media in Karlsruhe, one of Europe’s most important digital arts centers. Media theorist Norbert Bolz said women should not be allowed to work. It is an act of selfishness that harms families. He also noted that anyone can see that homosexuality is a disease that should be healed.

    These are a couple of the more extreme examples, but they say something about a pervasive masculinist mindset which remains completely unacknowledged. Suffice it to say that this community which ironically sees itself as progressive and liberal has never been our cup of tea. And due to our activism for women in music, we became strongly resented and ostracized by it.

    Happily, in the last few years there has been some slow movement toward more inclusivity for women. A tipping point will be reached. The curators and artists will eventually sense the new trend of “gender” and jump on the bandwagon.

    It is difficult to explain why the new music world adheres to monolithic aesthetic and technical movements. Set practices like serialism or spectralism are established and become ruling paradigms. Artists must conform to the ruling trends while appearing avant-garde, almost as if they needed a TÜV certificate of appropriateness from Europe’s heavy cultural bureaucracies. (TÜV is an acronym in German which means „Technischer Überwachungsverein”. It is like UL, Underwriters Laboratories in the USA.)

    The inclusion of women will continue to follow these same patterns. They are obligated to embrace the doctrines of the quasi-official avant-garde, the masculinist perspectives that we are conditioned to think of as being merely neutral. They will not be genuinely free, but part of a simulated equality in a tightly controlled and bureaucratic new music culture. As in the past, the effort will be to hollow women out and inhabit them while retaining only their face, a kind of window dressing that becomes something like being possessed by an alien force. Eventually, even the victims take this as perfectly normal.

    The challenge of all artists is to circumvent these monolithic aesthetic ideologies, to stand apart and find authentic artistic identities. When women composers become about half of the new music world, and when they speak with their own voices, our world will be significantly changed.

    • No says:

      Nonsense. Know when to stop typing.

    • John Borstlap says:

      In general, all of this is true – I can confirm William’s climate impression. But it is also mainly so in Germany. Everywhere in Europe there is a separated ‘new music establishment’, heavily supported by the state and foundations which hope to play a role in the ‘development of artistic production’, for their own image. The idea that this establishment represent ‘new music’ in terms of an avantgarde, of progress, is fake: its aesthetics are at least half a century old. Also, it is entirely artificial, and not rooted in the reality of the world and the concerns of today, which are so different from fluxus, dada, postwar sound art, etc. etc. which – by the way – always had been very marginal phenomenae. It is all merely parading and hollow theatre. And yes, within those circles there is a reactionary conservatism unimaginable outside of it.

      Just one illustrating example: in France in 2012 the brilliant and very intelligent pianist Jerome Ducros held a lecture at the College de France about modernism in music, which he analysed with some irony and apt descriptions, him being an experienced and very gifted PRACTICAL musician, functioning perfectly in the reality of the concert world. After his lecture, a kind of hetze developed that lasted a year, produced by the representatives of the modernist club, intended to damage him as a musician and a human being – the revenge of the inquisition. Fortunately France meanwhile sees truly gifted contemporary composers who seek their way otuside such idiotic reactionary clubs: Thierry Escaich, Karol Beffa, Nicolas Bacri, Richard Dubugnon, Guillaume Connesson. Admirable people. Alas, in Germany still unthinkable – atonal modernism still represents a moral alternative to music because Hitler hated it and thought it was Jewish.

      • Ashu says:


        I actually like this. An innovator in language, at least.

        • Marfisa says:

          Thanks, Ashu! I often hear phenomena used as a singular noun. If Mr Osborne also uses it in this way, and then thinks it is Latin, that would explain the neologism.

  • Meine Frau Abbie und ich haben noch nie an Europas neuer Musikwelt teilgenommen. Seine ahnungslose männliche Ausrichtung spricht uns nicht an. Ich denke zum Beispiel an die Aussage des Medienkünstlers Stahl Stenslie im Programmbuch des Ars Electronica Festival 2000, dass „auch Vergewaltigung eine Kunstschöpfungsstrategie sein kann“. Oder ich denke an einen Vortrag im Jahr 2017 im Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe, einem der wichtigsten Zentren für digitale Kunst in Europa. Der Medientheoretiker Norbert Bolz sagte, Frauen sollten nicht arbeiten dürfen. Es ist ein Akt des Egoismus, der Familien schadet. Er bemerkte auch, dass jeder sehen kann, dass Homosexualität eine Krankheit ist, die geheilt werden sollte.

    Dies sind einige der extremeren Beispiele, aber sie sagen etwas über eine durchdringende männliche Denkweise aus, die völlig uneingestanden bleibt. Es genügt zu sagen, dass diese Gemeinschaft, die sich ironischerweise als fortschrittlich und liberal versteht, noch nie unser Ding war. Und aufgrund unseres Aktivismus für Frauen in der Musik wurden wir stark davon übelgenommen und geächtet.

    Glücklicherweise hat sich in den letzten Jahren eine langsame Bewegung hin zu mehr Inklusivität für Frauen entwickelt. Ein Wendepunkt wird erreicht. Die Kuratoren und Künstler werden irgendwann den neuen Trend „Gender“ spüren und auf den Zug aufspringen.

    Es ist schwer zu erklären, warum die neue Musikwelt an monolithischen ästhetischen und technischen Bewegungen festhält. Feste Praktiken wie Serialismus oder Spektralismus werden etabliert und werden zu herrschenden Paradigmen. Künstler müssen sich den herrschenden Trends anpassen und gleichzeitig avantgardistisch erscheinen, fast als bräuchten sie ein TÜV-Gutachten von Europas schweren Kulturbürokratien.

    Die Inklusion von Frauen wird weiterhin diesen Mustern folgen. Sie sind verpflichtet, die Lehren der quasi-offiziellen Avantgarde anzunehmen, die maskulinistischen Perspektiven, die wir als rein neutral betrachten müssen. Sie werden nicht wirklich frei sein, sondern Teil einer simulierten Gleichberechtigung in einer streng kontrollierten und bürokratischen neuen Musikkultur. Wie in der Vergangenheit wird es darum gehen, Frauen auszuhöhlen und zu bewohnen, während nur ihr Gesicht erhalten bleibt, eine Art Schaufensterdekoration, die so etwas wie von einer außerirdischen Kraft besessen wird. Irgendwann nehmen sogar die Opfer dies als völlig normal.

    Die Herausforderung aller Künstler besteht darin, diese monolithischen ästhetischen Ideologien zu umgehen, sich abzuheben und authentische künstlerische Identitäten zu finden. Wenn Komponistinnen etwa die Hälfte der Welt der Neuen Musik ausmachen und mit ihrer eigenen Stimme sprechen, wird sich unsere Welt erheblich verändern.

  • V.Lind says:

    I’ve rarely read such abysmal tripe, and having listened to the three “pieces” embedded in the article, I have rarely heard such garbage. The two pop-fems only prove she is a lousy video editor of pointlessly separated public scenes. If you want music without actual music, stick to Cage’s 4’33” — at least there was a recognisable concept behind that.

    “It’s actually a typically ‘western’ thought, that one shouldn’t incorporate the personal into the musical…” — where did she ever get that idea? Has she ever heard the Enigma Variations? (Perhaps there’s an “of” missing in that sentence). Has she ever heard of Schumann? Beethoven? Wagner? Mahler? Strauss? I wonder if there are any musicians who have not incorporated the “personal” into their work. But they do not all incorporate the self-obsessive, self-appointed victimhood of this absurd woman.

    Azziff there isn’t enough horror in the world, we get this…who exactly is encouraging her with prizes and the like? God almighty, she makes rap sound like grand opera. And Van should know better than to indulge her whingerama.

    • John Borstlap says:

      My suspicion is that behind such publicity is the intention to make ‘new music’ more accessible to younger generations, who had never heard of ‘classical music’ before, let alone ‘new classical music’. But, if true, this shows a deep contempt for young people.

  • Ricardo says:

    “Dora Pejačević’s music (…) is ridiculously well-written. I’m certain that if she wasn’t Croatian or a woman, she would probably be as well-known as Brahms”.
    Yep, I subscribe to that, just about 95% – She was, sadly, robbed of achieving her full potential by dying too soon (from complications after childbirth).
    “Artifacts” is a very cool and fun piece.
    I don’t believe the ‘popfem’ pieces purport to be music? (for those of you who are so offended on behalf of the noble art)
    Congratulations to you people for verifying everything Glojnarić talks about. You all need to lighten up a bit, eh?

  • Marfisa says:

    This is why I keep coming back to SD! Where else could I read about composers such as Sara Glojnarić? How else would I have known that making a video out of snippets from YouTube videos of people saying racist and misogynistic things counts as a prize-winning musical composition? (The Kranichsteiner Musikpreis, 2018, along with Oliver Thurley [UK] and Martin Hirsti-Kvam [Norway] – the prize money for composition is 3000 euros , so I suppose she netted 1000.) For anybody who likes out-of-doors musical sounds, there is a pleasing video of Thurley’s filmed on Ilkley Moor:

  • Donna Pasquale says:

    Ooh I have just one myself a fiver in the guess the reaction of the SD reader quiz.

  • Ricardo says:

    “Dora Pejačević’s music (…) is ridiculously well-written. I’m certain that if she wasn’t Croatian or a woman, she would probably be as well-known as Brahms.”
    Yep, I subscribe to that, just about 95%. She was robbed of achieving her full potential by dying too soon (from complications after childbirth). She was a remarkable woman and artist.
    “Artefacts #2” is a very cool and fun piece. I don’t think the “popfem” pieces purport to be music? For those of you who are so offended on behalf of the noble art…
    Anyway, congratulations to most of you for verifying all that Glonarić talks about. You people need to lighten up a bit, eh?

    • Marfisa says:

      From the VAN article headline: “In 2018, her work “#popfem,” which artfully dismantles anti-feminist and racist propaganda, received Darmstadt’s Kranichstein Music Prize.”

      So yes, it did purport to be music.

      Artefacts #2 is indeed cool. Nothing wrong with it (though I confess I found it a bit ridiculous – probably my fault).

      As for Dora Pejačević, I’ve listened to some of her music (on YouTube). If she hadn’t been a woman, would anybody really claim that she was the equal of Brahms? A trawl of YouTube comes up with many, many composers of her time, writing in the late-romantic idiom, who had some success in their own day and are not now well known, though they are still worth listening to. This sort of unthinking “forgotten just because she’s a woman” argument is what gives feminism a bad name.

      “if she wasn’t Croatian” – Pejačević was a member of the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, spent most of her life elsewhere in the empire, and had a Germanic education and musical training. Being Croatian has nothing to do with her not being as well known as Brahms. Do Croatians have a nationalist chip on their shoulder?

  • Nick says:

    Sheer idiocy!! Imagine, how much anger, rage and negative this, so called, music will dump on peoples ears, brains and souls.

  • Ricardo says:

    I’ve gotten 10 thumbs down (twice!) from SD readers. I consider that an unqualified success 😀

  • BrianB says:

    “It’s actually a typically ‘western’ thought, that one shouldn’t incorporate the personal into the musical. ” It is? Since when? Even Stravinsky who often professed Objectivity did. (Symphony in Three Movements).

    • John Borstlap says:

      An example of ignorant confusion of the lady….. It is sound art which is supposed to be ‘objective’, not music, which is subjective by nature. She does not know what sound art is and what music is. Probably because of having been suppressed.