Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rambling thoughts on tech and mission

I continue to challenge myself to come up with interesting topics and information for this blog. Last week's entry was very successful. So if you're interested in revisiting some old blog entries on subjects like the nature of music, EDM and choral collaborations, and my rants on singing and community check out this link and use the archive to the right:

Today I have no new ideas. I am simply contemplating the place and space of technology reflecting on and reflected in a predominantly and historically "acoustic" art. Choral singing, music making, and art have always balanced the traditions and the tech. The development of music scoring itself changed by the nature of the development of technology, i.e. the printing press. Historians point to this development as maybe the biggest fundamental change in the nature of "modern" society.

I look at my singers and because we are multi-generational (which is AWESOME!), and because we have a huge variety of backgrounds in musical and social experiences, I see a melding of thoughts and concerns on the purpose of technology as it influences on our art and culture of singing.

Choirs are decidedly "low tech." Really, we could function with a room, someone with a good ear for pitch, and our voices. But I also see how things like YouTube, social media, and mixing technology based visual elements into our music can be good and fun! The last concert which featured pop music and video contrasts in so many wonderful ways with our upcoming concert featuring, brass instruments and an organ. But this "mash up" of music and style over the season, for me, has been incredibly stimulating and challenging. I have heard from singers that they feel both challenged and energized by this confluence of ideas.

My goal is to continue to inspire the choir and the community with music and events that reach out to many differing concepts, but are always focused on maintaining the highest quality of music making. The Lincoln Choral Artists mission statement does give me a lot of encouragement and helps me to know that I am thinking about the ideas of culture, music and technology in a clear way.
Our mission is to serve the community by providing an excellent musical experience for our audiences and members.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The nature of music: insight from Michael Tilson Thomas

Lincoln Choral Artists has moved into its final rehearsals of the season as we prepare for our participation in a Lincoln Festival of Music at First Plymouth Church on April 29th.

This concert will finish out our theme of "A Choral Continuum." We end with a concert featuring some music that talks about music. In general, the music is in a more traditional or "classical" mode.

As we continue our journey through all the ways music, and particularly, choral music moves an audience through time and space I wanted to take a moment to offer a perspective from a great conductor and music master, Michael Tilson Thomas.  A great voice and leader in the field of "classical" music and in particular, symphonic music, Thomas has great insight on the nature of music. His leadership as artistic director and conductor of the San Francisco Symphony is inspiring. This symphony is rated as one of the best in the world.

Below is a link to a great TED Talk by Thomas. Take a few minutes to enjoy his insight and if you have time visit the Keeping Score website and see what else he has to say about composers and music.

A few of my favorite moments from the TED Talk include these words:

"...classical music is a dialogue between nature; instinct and intelligence...what sticks with us as an audience when the music happens...and passing on the 'why' of music."