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Comments about the soundtrack for Memoirs of a Geisha (John Williams)

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Re: Stereotype-casting string players
• Posted by: Jer   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, December 11, 2005, at 12:44 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Stereotype-casting string players (dude)

Perhaps you'd like an affirmative action approach to choosing musicians. One where the composer chooses a performer from an ethnic group as culturally distant from the music as possible, in order to seem like ethnicity has no bearing on the hiring process. The ironic thing is that I bet there was no negative racism involved with the hiring in the first place, and the second scenario would be the one which places the most emphasis on race.

And a second note, if I had to write a score with a specific ethnic sound in mind, I would probably want to collaborate with musicians who are familiar with the style in which I was writing. And I bet most of those musicians would belong to that ethnic group by default.

But isn't Yo-Yo Ma Korean anyway? Doesn't this story take place in Japan? Hmmm, Japan.....Korea. That's like saying that a composer hired a Frenchman to perform a Spanish score simply beacause he's European! It sounds to me like John Williams isn't the one who has problems generalizing and stereotyping ethnic groups!

> Yo-Yo Ma played for 7 years and tibet and this, Perlmann (A jew) played
> for Schindler's List, and Stern (uhh...American) played for The Patriot.

> Draw your own conclusions. I personally think that choosing soloists based
> on ethnicity is stupid.

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