Composer is cancelled for arson remarks

Composer is cancelled for arson remarks


norman lebrecht

June 16, 2021

The choral composer Daniel Elder uttered an injudicious, non-racist remark on social media during the George Floyd riots last summer.

Since then Elder, 34, has been dropped by his publisher, ignored by performers and abused by former friends.

Read the full story here. 


  • musicman says:

    It wasn’t racist, but it was ableist to refer to the perpetrators of violence as “blind.” Connecting violent behavior to a disability is just as bad as connecting it to a skin color.

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      ===”Enjoy burning it all down, you well-intentioned, blind people. I’m done.”

      Sarcasm and irony don’t always travel well. As The Economist magazine wrote about Stockhausen after the indelicate 9/11 remarks “…he is not master of the sound-bite”

    • Anon says:

      It’s “ableist”?
      Says who? You?
      It’s an expression. I once was blind but now can see, I was blinded by love, and so on.
      It has absolutely nothing to do with a disability in the context in which he used it.

  • a musician says:

    Anyone stupid enough to put that comment out to the world at that time deserves to be cancelled. Read the room buddy.

    • Another musician says:

      There are more people in ‘the room’ than you see in the mainstream media.

      I think most would agree that arson in Nashville is not an acceptable response to violence in Milwaukee.

    • japecake says:

      “Reading the room” rather than speaking what you feel to be the truth is strictly the purview of cowards. Read the room, Copernicus!

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    Excellent. Another wrong-thinker gets what’s coming to ’em. If he didn’t vote for tRump, he probably would. We can’t purge our ranks of these voices fast enough. Our art shall not be fully purified and sanctified until we all hold the one correct opinion, and all those heretics not adhering to the orthodoxy shall be canceled. Conformity is the only way forward for our art!

  • John Borstlap says:

    The music world has become tricky for composers who have the temerity to still being alive. I once said at a rehearsel that a player had played a wrong note and was kicked out of the building, where I was arrested and had to spend the night in a police cell.

  • Alan K says:

    Dear Mr. Musician,

    Maybe the naive Mr. Elder did not realize he was living in China circa 1972. Perhaps he could be forgiven for such thinking!

  • Karl says:

    Maybe he should put on a dress and become Danielle.

  • christopher storey says:

    There was nothing injudicious about the remark at all. It was absolutely correct in every respect

  • Ricardo says:

    To all armchair cacellers out there :get cancelled; then express your opinion about people you do not know and broadcast it to the whole idle hoard of armchair social media oracles out there. Mr Elder might have paraphrased J.G Bennett : “everyone thinks they are doing good; even the nazis thought they were doing good; but they used a means that is inadmissible and incompatible with doing good”. I wish him the best.

  • JJC says:

    Do you know why Nazis are hated so much? Because they behaved exactly like Elder’s tormentors are behaving. God help us.

    • Stuart says:

      Godwin’s law, short for Godwin’s law (or rule) of Nazi analogies, is an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Adolf Hitler becomes more likely.

    • Will Wilkin says:

      Where are the millions of people killed by these tormenters of Elder? I am very sympathetic of Maestro Elder and despise the cancel culture mob, but comparing them to the Nazis is ABSURD.

      • Ricardo says:

        The only point of connection is “using inadmissible means that are incompatible with doing good”. Your comment is, again, symptomatic of the tendency to draw conclusions without having properly understood what’s been read.

  • David says:

    “Elder, 34, has been dropped by his publisher, ignored by performers and abused by former friends.”

    1. He didn’t do what his publisher AKA his employer asked him to do. Some of us call that ‘resigning’ or ‘being fired’. Not really seeing the ‘cancelled’ part, it was his own choice.

    2. If he is being abused by former friends, they were never friends to begin with. So the story can have a happy ending, this guy can now go out and find actual real friends.

  • japecake says:

    In addition to mastering their respective skills, creative people now have to fortify themselves in the dark arts of subversion, subterfuge, circumspection.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I’ve been thinking about this off and on the whole day. And it stresses me….

    A person can’t simply say heh I’m on your side but stop the arson, that’s not helping your cause, I’m out?

    And he’s accused of racism when not racist at all. And listed as being racist when he isn’t. Can no one say anything anymore when things have gone out of hand and there’s destruction going on… but there’s a political tag that excuses what doesn’t help and makes things worse.

    Black people are still discriminated against, despite corporate media racking up all the money from once again making it a media hype that allows them to take in money from their sponsors for ads, this has happened many times. 2012 was the Rodney King riots, there have been at least a couple big incidents in between, as well. But nothing has changed, much.

    Would anyone simply react in a way that promotes something other than riots and what goes with it, or honestly express how he feels about behavior that’s self defeating to a cause he believes in, this then is wrong because he doesn’t perpetuate what hasn’t helped through the history of a cause that in principle is just, and should have been heeded so long ago….

    Sorry, I really don’t think that arson is helping, the cause, and when such behavior is excused I don’t think it’s helping the cause, and I don’t see that historically it has helped the cause.

    Is whatever has been accomplished through simple non violent expression, is that all to be dismissed as worthless because they might also say: “heh, don’t do that….”