Remarkable things happen when you allow yourself to become fully engaged with creating art or performing music. At every level, you learn how little things make big things happen. The arts allow you to experience things from a global perspective and to bring real world meaning to basic knowledge and skills.
I had the privilege of conducting the Arizona All-State Band last month. The experience was extraordinary. One hundred students from schools throughout the state participated after going through several steps to qualify.
I recently attended the final concert performed by the 2015 Arizona Musicfest Orchestra in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the works on the concert—the Glagolitic Mass by Leos Janáček—was of particular interest to me. Janáček’s music is deeply influenced and inspired by Moravian and other Slavic folk music.
As I moved from room to room among the hundreds of music teachers at a recent Music Educators Conference in Arizona, I thought about the tremendous passion and commitment that brought all of these people to this profession—teaching music for a living.
As I listened to a recent performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, I realized the significance of what the composer accomplished and the awareness that allowed him to create such a work.
A recent performance of Gustav Mahler’s massive Symphony No. 2, Resurrection reminded me of the deeply expressive content of the work, but it also showcased both the remarkable genius of the composer and the expertise of the conductor and musicians.
A deep understanding of the artistic process gives composers, choreographers, dancers, actors, directors, musicians, and visual artists the distinct 21st century advantage of serving in the role of problem solvers. Artists learn to stretch boundaries and forge new partnerships, often making insightful contributions to intellectual inquiry and the strengthening of communities. Much of the understanding comes from collaborative artistic processes. It’s powerful.
Musical theater is a powerful and popular form of stage performance. Last week I attended performances with music by Stephen Sondheim—a full musical production and an afternoon of his songs from various musical theater works. Many of us experience an emotional reaction to the music created by Sondheim. There’s a fundamental, inspiring humanness in his work.
An orchestra concert that includes Mahler’s Fourth Symphony is especially appealing, and the recent pre-concert rehearsal I observed brought me back to the symphony’s enjoyable, tuneful nature.
I attended a semi-staged production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute last week. What a delight! It’s no wonder that this opera has captivated audiences for more than 200 years.