What does it mean to be a composer of classical, contemporary music here in Macedonia?
DIMUŠEVSKI: Contemporary music is a good term because nowadays jazz is also serious music. Rock-and-roll too, the real one, it can also be very serious as an expression. Which means… probably nothing. Here is a very simple example. Three years ago the Ministry of Culture had a call for buy-out of music pieces in various forms and formations, various instruments… It is advance work. You write a one hour long ballet piece for a big orchestra, a choir… You need to come with a story, have a libretto, synopsis… You think of all of this, your work on it for eight-nine months and you don’t know if you would have a verification of your labor. I might be crazy, but it is a challenge for me as well. You work in advance, but at least there is some chance that you sign a contract and your work is performed. Otherwise, there is no money in contemporary music. There is no money in artistic music. If there is eventually you are lucky to write music for a movie, a foreign or a domestic one, no matter, something small for a theatre play… I want to work on film or theatre music, especially for a theatre one because I am free. Because you can put inside your darkest thoughts and your most lucid melodies, harmonies and solutions, because it can sustain such a thing. Your and not tied with listening to this piece on the radio, but it is a segment in the play.
Do you have the impression that the state in general, regardless of who is in power, is till not aware that it should help, stimulate culture, free thought?
DIMUŠEVSKI: I would not like this to sound like a political pamphlet of somebody who prefers these or those, but I don’t think that here we rely on whether somebody knows his job or not. If he does what he is supposed to do. It is obvious that we have some kind of a problem in our country. Especially in culture. This was shown with the National Program now and with the cancellation of the call for buy-out of music pieces. The commission has completed its work in order, and the Minister, because of reasons known to him only, cancelled the call. They informed who the winners were, they withdrew the decision and he gave a negative opinion for this. He violated the anonymity of the call. Fifteen composers who were awarded for their works remained just like that. And what do we do now? We can not participate in a new call with the same pieces. We already know who the authors are, in which formation, in which category. The Ministry has the notes, the demo recordings… and we have no idea who has heard what we have prepared. These eighteen pieces will be in some drawer and we as authors should go from one institution to another, to Philharmonics, to the Opera… and we will beg for crumbles so that our pieces written for months and years and performed.
So, it turns out again that the author, artist has to kneel in front of somebody in power, somebody who is maybe there by chnace, to fulfil his right to life, to hav ehis work performed.
DIMUŠEVSKI: Absolutely. It is not embarrassing to ask if you don’t know. It is a sin, a very big disgrace to ignore if you don’t know, and you don’t ask. We are at your disposal. I am not saying that they are bad people and they do this on purpose. Or that the Minister hates me. Maybe he does hate me, but there is no reason for this. I met him when he had become a Minister. He knows me, and I don’t know him. Obviously, they don’t understand the thing. Obviously they don’t see for five, ten or 100 years ahead. Culture grows, the country grows, what is outs. These are the contemporary Macedonian authors. They are as they are. But obviously somebody doesn’t understand or he has mixed up things and thinks that he is here only for a short time. That he will go to some higher function afterwards and he should not cause any bigger damage during that time. I don’t understand these decisions. We had them before and we survived it. I have outlived some 15 ministers so far. They have all left and I am still in culture.