Current Music

The New Music Festival at the WSO is right around the corner, and I can’t wait. I am eager to get Polycoro in front of a large audience and find out what the reaction is.  The Lozowchuk and Feldman could not be more different from a musical perspective, and will create an incredible contrast.

We recently received a commission that we’d requested from Norbert Palej. What an amazing composition, delivered well in advance. I’ve read the scores for the first time this morning and it is going to be an emotionally charged performance. He has chosen one side of the dilemma of leaving a country behind. Painful stories that we maybe don’t always consider.

I’m lucky to have people like Oleksa and Norbert, artists with stories to tell, who share them with me. They are expressing things in music that are very expressive and merit consideration and should be heard. It is current music addressing our current time.

You can eat Art.

“Art is much more than entertainment.  Art gives you spiritual and literal sustenance.”

Everyone tells me that you can’t eat Art. That you have to pay the bills. Well, doesn’t that go without saying? I never feel broke, even if I am close sometimes. Trying to keep my bills from spiraling out of control can be a challenge. What keeps me going is Art. It really does sustain me during the toughest moments.

Today we artists live in the public eye as never before, and at a break neck pace in the race for relevance. I’m not one of those who is trying to win every prize, and perhaps never will be. Despite this I still manage to feel sometimes like I’m on a crazy roller coaster.

Raffi turned 6, Alec turned 1, and Dayna and I are very happy with our lives as musicians and working from home. I can’t think of a time that I was happier. We’ve participated in so many artistic endeavors this year – the Durufle Requiem, the debut of Polycoro, many fantastic moments at St. Matthias and Ensemble Bellechose. I was very proud of the Josquin/Lassus program. It has been wonderful and I’ve been working more and more at that tricky balance between activity and stillness. Some of you also do your best work from that balance, and you know what a challenge it is.

I turned 40 this year. Most guys get a car or go on a fancy vacation. I ate pork and turned inward instead. I still have a ways to go in terms of my abilities in every way. I’m still working and evolving. Getting work remains an issue. The work I have been chosen for is amazing, but it is not enough for financial security yet. At this point in my life that is a central issue – but most of my mentors said that doing great work was the key. So I continue with that in my mind, and try not to let insecurity get the best of me.

I am still a committed artist. I don’t think that will change before I stop breathing. I rarely have a moment in the day where sound is not spinning through my mind. I remember my commitments and my love of this, and the richness I feel every time I have the chance to make art and work at making it better. It is easy to remember this truth: Art is much more than entertainment.  Art gives you spiritual and literal sustenance.

And now, go eat some art. 😉