Day 23: The uncreative creative industry [Part 4 of 4]
As performers we often look back to older legendary recordings and point to the greats in awe of their ability to shape a phrase or build a climax. Were these performers any better as musicians than performers today? Not only do I think they weren’t any better than musician’s today, I think many of today’s musicians are in fact more skilled musicians and performers. Keep in mind that marketing and presentation is everything, especially in the performing arts.
During his lifetime Igor Stravinsky and many other of his contemporaries were the celebrities of their time – akin to a movie star or famous singer or band. If musicians and composers today are just as talented or able to create masterpieces, but why are composers not revered as they were about 100 years ago?
The answer is culture.
Culture determines so much of our perspective as a society. Most of the westernized world idolizes pop music’s biggest names, movie stars and sports figures. This attention and cultural prioritization has driven these industries to infinite heights.
Since the classical music industry has established its own culture so clearly, is it impervious from external influences in modern culture? This paradigm must be shifted. As an industry, we are suffering from an increase in the incestuous blood flowing through our veins. Lack of diversity will lead to the permanent death of classical music.
Is there a solution?
This is the good news – there are only solutions. Just like a sponge void of any moisture, the classical music industry will expand given the one thing that has always driven it – creativity. In every department of classical music we must return to our roots as intellectual, yet risk-taking and imaginative people.
Research and Design
Starting from the bottom, in research and design we have to completely rethink our concerts, conservatories, workshops, canon of music, and understanding of who are audiences are and could be.
How should musicians and composers be trained?
How well do we communicate to audiences through our playing, talking, post concert activity, and networking?
From a practical perspective, what problems are we solving?
For the performer what is important – interpretation of the composition, engagement of the audience, or the performer’s technical ability?