Making our music survive is about a lot more than just writing it down. It has to do with teaching our harmonic language and melodic style to those who learn from us. It has to do with nuance, experience, storytelling, and subtlety.
Here in Tallinn, I am under the impression that if one has even the smallest idea for a concert, it will happen with little to no red tape.
The hall was full, energetic, anxious for the Future Classics concert, the culmination of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. But one must ask the question. If the appetite for new music is so huge here, why aren’t more American orchestras doing this?
I am not surprised when protest organizers contact me asking for musicians to play at their protests; I am less surprised still when I hear that it was the music that elicited the loudest response and the most action.
Using extramusical models and precise planning works for some people but not everyone. I generally feel, however, that academic study of composition places emphasis on this methodology.
Where is the line between motivating someone and abusing them? Will the movie Whiplash make young jazz musicians think that all you need to do to become the next Bird is work really hard, get yelled at, and practice till you bleed? Is this portrayal of the teacher-student dynamic helpful or harmful?
When we perform with care for the holistic audience experience as well as care for the composer’s works, we can create a “social act” that is akin to magic.
Too often we live only by a temporal, horizontal axis in which we over-analyze, live within our heads, and lose connection with the earth and with our bodies. Being in touch with silence reinforces access to our inner selves and serves to reinvigorate connections with the earth and our identities.
We as musicians have a responsibility to respond to the world around us, to give the people a song to raise their spirits and fuel the fight in their hearts.
Few of these works can be experienced in their entirety, but that is partly the point; they act as a corrective to our uniquely modern assumption that—given advances in travel, communications, and media technology—we can know the whole world.