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A Man in Blue

… The grass

rough cropped as Bruno Walter’s hair,

is stretched, strewn and humped beneath a sycamore

wide and high as an idea of heaven

in which Brahms turns his face like a bearded thumb

and says, “There is something I must tell you!”

to Bruno Walter. “In the first movement

of my Second, think of it as a family

planning where to go next summer

in terms of other summers. A material ecstasy,

subdued, recollective.”

James Schuyler

Loaf for Thought

Like all is poetry, it is an invitation du voyage to the pleasures of loafing, the opposite of laziness. Random reading, long naps (he once told me how he missed an appointment because he’d grabbed forty winks – “at one minute per wink”), observing cars and birds outside the window – these, he gives us to understand, are really what life is made of.

– John Ashbery on James Schuyler

In the workshop

Attentiveness is the natural prayer of the soul. – Nicolas Malebranche

Philippe Caza


imagining things means

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.
-Wallace Stevens

On Agnes Martin

I remember that her work posed a lot of questions. I went to her studio eventually and bought a drawing. I remember asking myself what the difference was between graph paper and Agnes’s grids. Eventually I decided that it had to do with the difference between the loved line and the unloved line. – Richard Tuttle



an ocean

There’s an ocean of consciousness inside each of us, and it’s an ocean of solutions. When you dive into that ocean, that consciousness, you enliven it.  You don’t dive for specific solutions; you dive to enliven that ocean of consciousness. Then your intuition knows and you have a way of solving those problems –  David Lynch


I got an email, and it was so lovely I wanted to share it. Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve been discovering classical music, really for the first time in my life, since I realized last fall how cheap the KWS student all-season passes are. A few concerts during the fall proved to me that classical music can be, for me, more emotionally touching and intellectually tickling than I had realized. This motivated a surge of interest, and I started listening before hand to the pieces that the KWS was to play, to get more out of the concerts. Being a Finn, not really for nationalistic reasons but simply because there was more context for me to grab hold of, the Sibelius concert especially drew my attention.

After a few listen-throughs, the [Sibelius] 7th symphony started to grow on me, and has kept doing so. I constantly feel that I don’t quite know what it is saying to me, not explicitly, but on some level I understand, and it has come to take on an only vaguely describable but in fact quite precise, personal meaning to me. (A meaning that I would guess partially overlaps with how Sibelius felt about it, although I could be wrong.) In other words, it has become the first classical composition that for me holds the kind of power artistic creations can at their best hold.


This week’s concerts were full of adventure and risk. I went in with that intention, sharing one of my favorite Nikolaus Harnoncourt quotes in rehearsal:

“To be beautiful, music must operate on the outer fringes of catastrophe.”

It was fortuitous that Ben Beilman joined us this week with the same agenda. His clear priority, above all, was to express something dark, deep, and transcendent. It’s rare to feel that kind of daring in a concerto performance.

That sense of risk, adventure, is what makes all the difference.



art begins

We know that humans began making art about 50,000 years ago. Bones and tusks were made into carvings, with no practical purpose.  Something happened in the development of the human brain that compelled us to do this.

But what? What compelled us to carve what we saw into a mammoth tusk? Were we now conscious, needing to find our place in the world? Did we feel a sense of separation and loss from the natural world surrounding us? Is all art the result of leaving the Garden of Eden?