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Thinking Time

I’ve settled back in California for the rest of the summer. No more concerts for a while. I’ll be spending August working on a LOW-KEY LITTLE OPERA in San Francisco.

But this summer I’m researching and thinking about two things in particular, and in August I’m going into high gear.

First: How can we change the perception of THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA in THE COMMUNITY?

I’ve figured out where I want to go with this … here it is:

Old Perception: An orchestra is a Stuffy Place where people in Tuxes play Music I Don’t Understand written by Dead People for an Almost-Dead Audience

Desired New Perception: An orchestra is a a group of Virtuoso Artists who live in Our Town and play all kinds of Cool Music for Everyone.

Here’s the infuriating thing as far as I’m concerned — as far as What We Do, we’ve already reached “Desired New” status. We do all the things I mention (playing music for all kinds of potential audiences: from classical, to rock, to electronica, to jazz, to world music / audiences from kids to the elderly / great musicians who are part of the life of the community). The problem is – not enough people realize this because Old Perception is so powerful. There’s a huge gap here. How do we close it?

I’m thinking very abstractly at the moment about perception and taste, a catalyst has been a woderful essay by Carl Wilson called Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. It’s amazing and hilarious. Read it now.

The other thing I’m think about is Historically Informed Performance. My question:

Is there a way to play in a Historically Informed way that players of modern instruments (or at least enough of them) will really enjoy?

Currently reading:
Inside Early Music, by Bernard Sherman
The Interpretation of Early Music, by Robert Donnington
The Historical Performance of Music – an Introduction, by Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell
The Interpretation of Music, by Thurston Dart

More on this soon.