So often, those of us who answer the muse’s call to a life dedicated to music, don’t ever have the opportunity to learn what our commitment has encouraged. We pour our hearts and minds into a performance of Beethoven or Brahms, an endeavor that has been practiced since childhood, and then pack our music cases and walk away. We are dedicated to our purpose; we are perfectionists by nature. Often, we only hear the mistakes, so subtle that they wouldn’t even show up on a recording, but we know that they were there. And so we continue to strive for excellence, always out of reach, so that the next concert will be more beautiful. And this is how we lead our lives.
How many concerts have I been a part of, in which my playing truly touched the soul of another human being? I reverently hope that my commitment to my art has meant something to someone, somewhere. When many feel the need to create beauty, the combined effort can lead to great things. To touch the soul is the highest of artistic achievements. I feel that there is one true place in which this has happened.
The New Hampshire Music Festival. Such an ordinary name for such an extraordinary experience. It is, without a doubt, the most refreshing musical experience of my lifetime. Like many miracles, it really can’t be explained in any rational way. Somehow, during six weeks every summer, a conductor, orchestra and audience come together in a perfect kismet of artistic unity. We greet each other every year as if we had never left. All of us. I personally have never experienced this with any other organization. Such mutual appreciation, and on such a deeply personal level, is quite amazing.
I find it sad and strange that the very people chosen to preserve and supervise this truly exceptional artistic offering should seek to destroy it. It can only be that ego, and it’s secret desires, are difficult taskmasters. As most of us know, it is most difficult to recognize a reality different from your own when one is blinded by ambition. The reality is that the music touched the audience. The audience embraced the makers of the music. The musicians filled the summers with beauty. How perfect. Isn’t that true art?
And the thought of it being taken away has made the audience wild with passion! They have taken to wearing purple ribbons of outrage, they have cried and protested. They have…. shown the kind of commitment and passion that the current management said was missing from classical music. The audience has organized a revolt. They want their orchestra and their conductor to fill the New Hampshire summers with inspiration.
And so we must ask, in this time of economic distress. Isn’t this what every arts organization dreams of? An audience so adoring that they would risk arrest? Why would management seek to destroy that which they proclaimed to seek?