My activities as an artist center around two central ideas:
1. Creating and enabling the highest level music making from myself and those I interact with, and
2. Creatively promoting meaningful artistic experience through performance, community, outreach and education, deepening and enriching the lives of those who come in contact with art.
All orchestras of today must have at their core a mission of continuing to build an audience for classical music; we are promoting art, and a living art, at that. We have the important privilege and duty of breathing life into masterpieces both old and new written by some of the most inspired human beings that have ever walked the earth. It should be our mission to educate without preaching, to speak directly and with conviction about music’s importance in our lives, and make the point that art expands our sense of the world and our place in it. And when I say “educate”, I do not mean in the way that most remember about their least favorite classroom experiences. We must do this without being “elitist” and at the same time aspire to lift our audiences to places they couldn’t imagine before, giving them new and meaningful aesthetic experiences. We must encourage our audiences to listen actively and help them experience the emotional and spiritual pleasures of doing so. We need to reach deeply into the schools with innovative and exciting programs to put classical music within our children’s reach. We must engage the community locally and regionally. A successful organization will collaborate with museums, galleries and other cultural establishments (including bars and restaurants) to make sure they are deeply integrated in the community and ensure that its supporters could not imagine life without its presence in their lives.
I continue to be positive and excited about the future of classical music and orchestral performance, even in the face of nearly daily news of struggling arts organizations throughout the country and the world. I firmly believe that the orchestra itself remains one of the most extraordinary performing entities we as human beings have created. What can match such an impressive number of highly trained and passionate musicians playing some of the world’s most exciting and moving music? Today’s environment demands that we as artists and arts organizations be profoundly creative in how we promote this art form.
In the words of Eric Booth at his 2012 New England Conservatory commencement speech: “[the artist’s] job is to wake up the yearning in individuals who live in a culture that is diabolically designed to squelch it everywhere. To wake up that yearning and guide it into activities and experiences that produce the satisfaction, the reward of making connections that expand their sense of the world and makes us hungry for more. The pleasure that brings them back.”
I see today’s cultural struggles as an opportunity: an opportunity to have a hand in moving music and music making forward deep into the 21st century and to give the audience that pleasure that brings them back again and again.