Monday, February 24, 2020

Dreaming Big

This article is reprinted from the Foley Music and Arts Newsletter, a (usually) weekly review of the activities that I've been up to, and links to the most recent articles from both the Collaborative Piano and Foley Music and Arts blogs. You can subscribe to the newsletter here

For the last few days, I joined over 50 pianists for the inaugural Dream Big conference at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Together we laughed, we cried, we experienced the potential of artistic collaboration and the power of communication in performance. Musical collaboration and its purpose in the life of the individual, society, and the cosmos was the centrepiece for these days. The goal of the conference was to dream big and we most certainly did that.

Jean Barr and Margo Garrett are two women who have been foundational in the development of the collaborative piano profession, and this was the first chance that the two of them have had the chance to work together in a master class setting. The level of performance and discourse was exceptionally high, and the lessons learned from their teaching will resonate with me for a very long time.

One of the most meaningful parts of the conference was our trip to the Human Rights Museum. The experience of this unique museum helped to frame our musical activities within the much larger world of the rights of the individual, how its transgressions have shaped human history, and why we must keep these ideals at the forefront of our vision in order to survive as a species.

The conference also laid the groundwork for a collaborative piano association with an international reach. In our final session, we arrived at a list of next steps for working together to create an international association in only 25 minutes. I joked afterwards that this was the fastest that I had ever seen a group of musicians arrive at consensus, but it was no joke that we were able to work together so quickly and cohesively without the usual gridlock that characterizes many meetings of this sort.

None of this would have been possible without countless hours put in by University of Manitoba faculty members Laura Loewen and Judy Kehler Siebert. These two women moved mountains to create a truly unique conference with lofty goals and then make it happen, all with limited time and resources.

My heart is full. The experiences of this conference will resonate with me for a long time, and those of us who were there will not forget the personal bonds, artistic experience, and promise of how we can solve seemingly intractable problems within a short span of time, given a willingness to listen and openness to the possibility of what we can accomplish together.

No comments:

Post a Comment