When I first began exploring music for my next recital I realized I wanted to do something different than what is expected of a normal oboe recital. In college most musicians are taught to play academic recitals that are made up of standard repertoire for the instrument they play and have at least one 20th/21st century work on their program. Preferably "the way" is to start with the earliest composed piece and finish with the most difficult..... or something to that degree. However, audiences are not usually made up of college professors and peers! So what does a general audience made up of all sorts of people expect from a recital? Simple. To be moved. To enjoy what they hear. To have it make sense and hopefully to come away from a recital (or any concert) inspired.
With that thought in mind I know that many people have difficulty understanding art music (also known as classical music). This deeply saddens me because this kind of music is so much more satisfying than what the general population listens to. How much we miss...... Gustav Mahler is known for saying "A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything." And his symphonies usually do! :)
Where I disagree with some musicians is the idea that "music is life." You've heard the quote right? I have often wondered if this way of thinking has helped to create a gap between those who love art music and those who do not. Additionally some musicians clearly do not have a life and even those who have achieved their dreams can still find themselves unhappy. In my humble opinion music is not life itself but rather expresses it. Once I understood this, music became even more important to me than ever. Consequently I became a better musician because I put my life experiences, ideas, and emotions into the music I play. In turn I now cherish life much more. This shift in my thinking brought forth the idea to create a program that would share my thoughts and inspirations for the music I love to play. My hope is that those who have a difficult time understanding art music will find that it can enhance and is applicable to their own lives.
My upcoming recital "Sanctuaries; come back to who you are" stems from my thoughts on my previous post! (See below).
So what is a sanctuary? I suspect the first thing a person thinks of is a church sanctuary; something sacred or a place of holiness. As I began to explore and contemplate this subject I discovered more; places of safety and beauty. It can be as simple as spending a quiet evening with a good book and a glass of wine to as serious as a refugee camp. Or it can be a person instead of a place; a close friend, family member or lover. It can be God Himself, the sanctuary for mankind. But as I thought more about it I realized it's not so much what a sanctuary is but rather what it does for us. So why do we need a sanctuary? Is it really that important?? I think so. Even in my everyday life I experience stress, worry and fear. Reading the news itself makes me feel a sense of despair and hopelessness. There is tragedy, suffering and discouragement everywhere! A sanctuary is so important. Not to necessarily escape but to be refreshed, renewed and to bring back wonder into our lives. But in spite of all that, a sanctuary is necessary for something much deeper; we discover who we are meant to be. We come back to who we are.