My relationship to music seems to be more lunar than solar. (I just received a notification that this is the hour of the Moon on the day of Jupiter.) It is more about contemplation and withdrawal than about social engagement. Performance, especially solo performance, is a public act, but the substance it represents is largely private.
The composers and topics that I have wished to pursue, if I remain true to myself--Tavener, Pärt, Rudhyar, Yuasa, Takemitsu--are introspective rather than good candidates to compete for ironic attention in a postmodern academic marketplace. This often leaves me feeling helpless in the face of compulsions to trend-surf or to declare some kind of (dubious) social relevance (which seems more like narcissistic display than anything else).
Recalling how I got started on some of the projects--which worked better for me at my previous university than they have where I am now--I recall that, in my burnout early on in my first full-time academic job, I listened to Peter Serkin's album of Takemitsu's piano music over and over again with the shades drawn. Eventually I began to perform the Rain Tree Sketch pieces and was invited by a composer colleague to participate in the university's new music series. Another composer colleague suggested that I learn some piano music by Yuasa, with whom he had studied. This led to more performances, a couple of conference papers, and my first recording project.
There was an organic quality to the way in which I was working there. I have been unsuccessful in continuing in that vein at my current university. My time here has been a failure and I feel extremely vulnerable in this environment. Social distancing has actually become an opportunity for healing from some of the hurt of my current work environment because I have finally had enough time in a safe space (my home) to see more clearly some of the things that have been going on.