Just Stop It With The “No, Because!”

If you are in the arts business, especially orchestra business, chances are you have come across a moment or a meeting where you hear the words: “no, because.” There may have been a great idea, a creative way to do something, but the knee-jerk reaction to that idea was predictably: No. Usually the rejection to the idea was followed up with excuses and reasons why an idea couldn’t be implemented. All that energy spent explaining why something wouldn’t work only adds to the frustration! Over the next couple months, I want to … Continue Reading

Comp Tickets Are Not Cocaine

I’m not a huge fan of the complementary (comp) tickets in the classical music industry. Handing out comps tells an audience that the years of work I put into my craft is essentially value-less. Being a professional musician means fighting that stigma and protecting worth, constantly. Comp tickets are a bad habit! They are continually justified by people in the orchestra industry because: We want a full hall, no matter how. If people like this concert, surely they will pay for the next. Comps are basically like a musician’s privilege or benefit; … Continue Reading

There Is An Easter Egg In My Concerto

When one thinks of violin concertos, it is easy to summon up the typical formulas and expectations. The concerto I will premiere next spring in Chattanooga is not going to be one of those. Last summer I mentioned to Hollywood film composer, George S. Clinton, that an Epic Western kind of violin concerto would be fun. He agreed and began formulating ideas. We chatted on the phone, brainstormed, shared what we liked and didn’t like about the typical concertos and were very much on the same page. The Rose of Sonora: A … Continue Reading

Yes And Arts Capacity Header

Yes, And. The Early Days Of A New Nonprofit

After a few performances in the prisons over the last two years, it became clear we were bringing an entirely new and important conversation to the forefront. The conversations were never planned out. They consisted of sharing some music with prisoners and listening to their impressions, opinions, and thoughts. Outcome and expectations instinctively followed Improv Rules, specifically “Stop planning the next thing you’re going to say and just listen to the person in front of you,” and “Yes, And.” The philosophy of Yes, And is where an idea builds incrementally using a … Continue Reading

Your Orchestra Says It’s Progressive, Your Audition Requirements Say Otherwise

There are many initiatives in the classical music industry to promote living, woman, and minority composers. You will see numerous festivals and special concert series devoted to supporting and promoting these composers. That is exactly what should be done. Upon talking with many colleagues about their upcoming auditions, there is a noticeable trend that needs to stop. The music required for the orchestras’ upcoming auditions was written by composers who were long gone: long gone white male composers. While these audition repertoire requirements have been considered “standard” for the last 25+ years, … Continue Reading

Send this to a friend