Rambling and Ranting

Catching up on trade periodicals. Nice piece in the April Chamber Music magazine called “The Ear of the Beholder.” Resonates with recent postings and discussions on competitions.

“The only thing the judges can agree on is whether or not a mistake has been made… So the winner is often somebody who doesn’t make mistakes.”

The article also makes a nice reference to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. To paraphrase: Quality is an event, and it can happen only when an object and an observer (the music and the listener) resonate.

Art That’s Good for You

Still seething. Gave myself a week or so to cool down. Didn’t work.

If you read the link (probably expires soon), skip the politics. Not because I don’t agree with them, but because they’re beside the point and obfuscate the discussion.

I am so tired of having to prove that the arts change the “functional activity inside our brains.” Damn Mozart Effect. The bean counters have to prove something in order to keep the funding flowing, but this relentless focus on the behavioral benefits of engagement in the performing arts makes me nuts. (Don’t get me started on No Child Left Behind…) It places raw, messy, exhilarating, gut-wrenching live music, theatre and dance on the same level as video games. Watch those synapses fire! Improve brain functioning! Really.

Speaking of Video Games

Reading Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever. I don’t need much convincing. And it’s not all gloom-and-doom. There’s a “gamer” in my household, and he manages to be one of the most geeky AND personable and artistic people I know.

The fearmongers will cite short attention spans and other media-induced pathologies. But there’s a singular deep and active focus that these kids understand that almost mimics meditation and arts engagement. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not drawing parallels here. But the passivity of the TV generation has been replaced, and I think it’s a move in the right direction.

Quitting while I’m (arguably) ahead

Apologies for the circular ranting and rambling. If I had more time, I’d spin out some sort of treatise. As it is, half-formed thoughts will have to suffice.

Big day tomorrow – design presentations for our first two operas. Back at you on Wednesday with pictures!

One Comment


Phillip Kennicott seems to be an intelligent, thoughtful person. He also seems to see his role as critic to be that of provocateur… surely he is aware that arts organizations have been forced into the “instrumental” approach because the “intrinsic” approach is, unfortunately, too easily dismissed. The reality, as I’m sure you know, is that in capitalist society, art is a commodity. Its value is ultimately determined by the consumer, whether through a donation or ticket purchase. The consumer determines what art is and what intrinsic value it has FOR THEM PERSONALLY, regardless of what experts such as yourself or even the artists have to say about it. And whether you like it or not, or whether it is “right” or not, “raw, messy, exhilarating, gut-wrenching” experiences are not what mainstream consumers want for their classical music dollar.

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