Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

On the Rooftop of the Kennedy Center

It was never my dream to have my music performed at the Kennedy Center. I simply did not believe in dreaming outrageous, impossible dreams. Yet the improbable happened, all the more shocking to me as an immigrant, who once upon a time came to the United States with a flute and a $100 to her name, and who for many years suppressed the idea of pursuing a career in classical music as impractical and financially out of reach.

It wasn’t until my mid-30s that something snapped in me and I felt the urge to continue my education. I began tentatively with private lessons in music composition, but then things quickly spiraled out of control and I got a Bachelor’s degree, and then a Master’s. After graduation, very much out of sync with the trajectory of a traditional music career, I was too old to benefit from many opportunities for “young” composers, but too inexperienced to be counted among the established ones. All I could do was carve my own path.

Now at 50, I stand on the rooftop of the Kennedy Center, not sure how I got there or how it will affect my future. I will try to dream larger from now on, especially since it’s too late to lead a conventional life.

Photo by WG


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