If you have 3 minutes to be browsing the internet (i.e. Facebook, Reddit, YouTube...you get the idea), then you DEFINITELY have 3 minutes (actually, 2 minutes and 53 seconds) to watch this! Bravo to Carnegie Hall and all my friends at Ensemble ACJW for spicing up the lives of these 40 New York City second graders! Get ready to dance.
News about upcoming projects, concerts, recordings, travels, and fun discoveries from Deborah...
I have been watching a new film series called Living the Classical Life which is wonderfully hosted by pianist and journalist Zsolt Bognár, and I'm a big fan. Episode 27 was released earlier last week and it features one of my favorite people: the multi-talented, award-winning cellist of the Cavani String Quartet, teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, director of the Perlman Music Program's Chamber Music Workshop, host of a radio talk show, comedian, and overall an A+ of a human being...(wait for it)...Merry Peckham! Merry has been a longtime mentor and is the one who made me fall in love with Chamber Music (yes, that deserves capitals) when I was a young and curious cellist of 12 attending the utopia of music festivals, the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island, NY. She opened up a whole new world of music to me and all of my childhood camp mates with her energetic spirit, and revealed how fun, dramatic, intimate, beautiful, hilarious, and expressive playing chamber music could be. This interview captures her perfectly and is a beautifully honest look into her tremendous contribution to the world. Watch it, you will love it.
I happened upon this series called 'Raw Craft'. It is a collaboration between Balvenie whiskey distillery and Anthony Bourdain, chef and writer whose journalistic work about food and its gateway to culture and politics I enjoy following. It's an online film series documenting the remarkable stories of true craftsmen, people who make amazing things from scratch, by hand, stich-by-stich, and with boundless amounts of passion to make something good. Real Good. Doing it the best way it's done and making it right. Capiche?
The term 'good' seems to have lost its significance of meaning because of the overuse of other terminology. But Bourdain makes us re-examine the term as he travels throughout the States to meet one-of-a-kind cast-iron skillet makers, a saxophone designer / repair specialist, a master blade smith, a suit tailor, and master book maker. They all toil over their craft, go back to the drawing board everyday to get it just right, and do it so artfully - it's a beautiful thing. It is a reminder of how important it is to pursue excellence and quality in what we do, and it's profound effect on us as artists and the people around us. The entire series is great, but the episode I'm posting below features the master typographers and printers of Arion Press, one of the last of its kind in the United States. For many of us, looking for information on our smart devices happens with such subconscious ease. Google is inherently faster than reaching for a book. And while watching this, I realized how unaware I was about how artfully books are made and the stories they often have behind the one printed on its pages. At the end of each episode, there's a happy toast with Balvenie whiskey which seems like perfect product placement, but hey, they are the ones who made the series and who doesn't like a toast to whiskey?
Admittedly, I have been a part of my generation's technological obsession. I've gone through my fair share of iPads, tablets, smart phones and for a short while, stopped buying books. I even transferred all my scores to my iPad. But there was a two year period, from 2012-2014, where I gave up on smart technology altogether went back to connecting with the real thing. Weirdly, I found myself appreciating the slightly faded etchings of old pencil and eraser marks or written in side notes because it was a stamp of a time and place. Pressing 'delete' never left a trace.
I've since then reconnected with technology in all its Instagram and FaceTime glory. I'm not knocking it. But watching this episode reveals how beautiful a craft such as book making (or any of those skills featured on the series) can be. The tedious process carefully pieced together. Any musician or artist will know what that's like, pouring countless hours into a work or concert program, toiling over the same phrase or passage, shaping and coloring our sound to get closer to the expression we want, and getting frustrated throughout the process. And when you think you've 'got it' and come to a point where it feels good, it's only a matter of time before you discover there's so much further to go. It's why you get up the next morning to do it all over again. What's your craft?
Today's #ThrowbackThursday is from June 17, 2015 when I had the honor of being a cultural ambassador to the United States and performed at the Belgian residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Anthony L. Gardner. There are not many occasions when musicians and artists come in contact with the world's most influential leaders, but that evening, my entire audience was made of up members of the EU Commission, European Parliament, and EU Council. I was very humbled to be in their presence and as an American artist, thrilled to have performed and offered music as my contribution to their Mission to the European Union!
This article and video have been roaming around Facebook and other social media platforms.
And for good reason.
I was so touched by the effort made by the New York City Ballet to fulfill a mother's request for her daughter with special needs. If you want to smile and be reminded of how meaningful art can be, watch the video below (brought to you by Upworthy) and share it with everyone around you. This is why I love New York and I couldn't be prouder to have grown up within the same walls!
To read the full article by the San Francisco Globe, click here!