The Composers' Cafeteria Official Home Page

Bottom row, L to R: David Reider, Elaine Schnaidt, Jennifer Rycenga, Michael Macrone.

Top row, L to R: Dan Plonsey, Tom Statler, Randy Porter, David Adee, Chris "Supermarky" Maher, Kyle Granger, Kathy Geisler.

The Composers' Cafeteria was (is?) a composer's cooperative which existed (exists?) for some time in and around Berkeley, California. The group came into existence as the the result of a great many factors, desires, ideals, needs, etc., all of which contributed to its greatness as well as to its inevitable downfall. Among those ideals were the notions that performers and composers ought to exchange roles for best results, and that pretty much anyone can write music which would be less boring and more meaningful than what is being played in universities and by "new music ensembles." The Cafeteria succeeded in demonstrating that both of these propositions are correct. If only the Cafeteria had recognized certain corrolaries to these obvious truths! The group's demise (?) might have been averted, or at least delayed. Especially the corrolary that states: Composers who do not play an instrument with reasonable skill are parasites and are killing music. And also: Composers whose aim is to have their pieces performed in universities and by "new music ensembles" are going to drive us all crazy with their constant whining. Less obvious was the hard-learned manifesto-item: No more deadbeat ringers.

Cafeteria History

The history of the group in a nutshell: observe the changes to the Cafeteria's motto over time:

"We of The Composers' Cafateria do believe that every musical composition deserves one performance."
- Chris Maher, February, 1987

"Every piece deserves to be heard once."
- "Official" Cafeteria motto

"We of The Composers' Cafateria have no common tastes in music, but we do share the proposition that each composition deserves to be heard once. Okay, and also that each proposition is true at least once. And this is the `once!'"
- Dan Plonsey and Tom Statler, May, 1987

"Every piece deserves to be heard once - but not by us!
- anon., 1989

"`Every piece deserves to be performed once.' Ha, ha, suckers!"
- James Jacobs, July 1989


For more information about The Composer's Cafeteria, send mail to: Dan Plonsey, or peruse the following links.

Of special interest to the scholar of new music: Composerama -- the official publication of The Composers' Cafeteria. Five issues were published, and we will present all five on this site soon! For now, only Composerama No. 1 is available, as we are still experimenting with methods for converting paper into PDF.*

*We used the brute force method of photographing each page with our phone, turned up "contrast" and "definition" to 100%, and saved as "full size" "medium quality" jpgs.