I’ve read many articles of late (such as this one) talking about yet another symphony orchestra that is headed for bankruptcy, or is locked in disputes over salary cuts, etc. It is indeed a sad thing to see orchestras in dire shape. The musical world is definitely feeling the economic hit, along with other sectors, and orchestras have long been the “large corporations” of that world.
However, maybe we can also see this as an opportunity. There are many other avenues for musicians to explore outside the realm of large concert halls. What about chamber ensembles? What about pairing with composers, applying for grants to commission new works? Many musicians I know in Boston are able to piece together decent livings through freelancing, playing in various traditional and/or new music ensembles, raising money (through grants, fundraising, etc) for their own creative projects and collaborations, and teaching.
Yes, orchestras play an important role in the preservation of great works, and their disappearance would be a tragedy, as would the disappearance of museums or great past works of literature. But perhaps we should also embrace the reality of a shift in paradigm, and equip ourselves to not only survive, but to thrive within this change of environment.
Lauren and I recently gifted ourselves (for our 6th anniversary) a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera, which I have to say is a pretty remarkable piece of equipment, based on my limited experience (1 month and 11 days, as of this post). Besides taking great pictures – a good quality for any camera to possess – it also takes full HD 1080p video. It is this feature that I, while admittedly on a lot of pain meds for my back, was inspired to use while we were boiling water for what turned out to be pretty amazing homemade eggplant lasagna, using eggplants and tomatoes given to us by our next door neighbors from their epic garden. Lauren of course made the mistake of pointing out to me how cool the boiling water looked in the particular pot we were using, at which point I of course grabbed the camera and commandeered the pot for 5 minutes or so, while she was waiting to, you know, cook pasta.
Anyways, the resulting video, to my very untrained eye, looked quite cool, experimental, and edgy. I’m sure to any actual video artist, it looks like some hack grabbed a camera and taped water boiling. And they was right. I then decided it would go particularly well with a percussion quartet piece I wrote earlier in the year, performed by the Talujon Percussion Group. So I opened iMovie for like the second time ever, and with my cunning expertise, assembled the following product (there are even titles and credits and fade outs and things, which is cool):