NPAC Diary Marianella Machado
I sincerely think that the First National Performing Arts Convention was a great success that will bear very good fruits in the near future.
Honestly, I went to NPAC expecting to get acquainted with issues that influence or affect the performing arts life at this difficult moment. Also, I expected to find out new ways for me to contribute to our community through my work as a composer, writer, and educator. Now, I look back at my expectations and I see that my experiences at NPAC lived up to them.
I was very fortunate to get to Pittsburgh three days before the NPAC began. Therefore, I could share some activities with other composers and performers. For example, I attended a rehearsal for the Meet the Composer‘s Composition Recitals. Also, I had interesting conversations with other NPAC attendees about the state of the performing arts in this economy-changing world, the new art technology means and the latest trends in music composition.
Each day of the NPAC was full of many meaningful and exciting moments that it would be to long for me to mention all. Nevertheless, I had a significant lesson to remember at the end of each day. I recall, for example:
Tuesday June 8
I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Leonardo Balada on writing opera. His experience writing an opera on a libretto by the famous Spanish playwright and librettist Fernando Arrabal showed me the importance of music not only to express, but also to convey the dramatic meaning of words.
Wednesday June 9
The performance of “Variations on America—A Work in Progress” at the Opening Plenary Session inspired me to contemplate life through the metaphor of a performing art rehearsal.
Thursday June 10
It was a day full of significant lessons. Among them I particularly recall my conversation with Mr. George Mattox on his own artistic experience and advice on writing operas for TV-Movie oriented audiences.
Friday June 11
I attended a session called “High Performance Proposals: Writing to Win” given by David Bury. I learned that the most important thing for writing a proposal is building and maintaining relationships.
Saturday June 12
It was another day full of wonderful experiences and encounters. Among them I specially remember the NEA Chairman, Dana Gioia, using the metaphor of mutual collaboration, enthusiastic participation, and loving attitude to talk about his strategy for building a broad public commitment to federal support of the arts.
Sunday June 13
At the end of my stay in Pittsburgh, I could point out some aspects to be improved next time: the Opening Plenary Session could be a little bit shorter; and the shuttle bus must run on schedule so the convention attendees can go to different conferences in the same day.
The first NPAC was a marvelous experience for me, both at the professional and personal level because on one hand, I got the chance to get first-hand information about the current issues and opportunities for developing a more effective and significant career; on the other hand, I had the pleasure to meet so many wonderful and talented people as well as to establish a new and cheerful network of professional interactions. Moreover, I ended up with my hands full of unexpected information and important material about how to enhance my artistic career.