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June 15, 2007

Is it the Art or the Artist?

by Ed Cambron

In thinking about what's been written so far, my thoughts turned to the stage. If we are on a path where audiences need to be more engaged with the creation of the art, does that mean they need to be more engaged with the artists onstage too? Are we treating our orchestra musicians like artists? Do they treat themselves and organize themselves like artists?

It wasn't so long ago that orchestras debated the simple act of having a musician speak from the stage. That says a lot about how we view the creative process and the role of musicians. If you think about it we have opportunities few other performing arts disciplines have; a large collection of artist who commit to the creation of art for an institution, day in and day out, usually for a lifetime. Imagine the power of exploiting their individual musical talents to engage audiences, their power to engage in musical discourse with audiences, one on one, on the stage, off the stage, online, and in our communities. Imagine for a moment if they viewed their role primarily as an individual contributor to the art form, and not as part of a collective contribution. Imagine for a moment if orchestra administrators viewed their role as encouraging and facilitating the work of individual artists. Would this create a more open and creative environment with greater opportunity for audience engagement? Would it allow us to be more flexible in a changing cultural landscape? Maybe.

Posted by ecambron at June 15, 2007 8:06 AM


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