Margo Drakos: The Age of Relevance – Lessons from a world away

Much of our education and presentation of classical music focuses on great masters of the past: Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Mahler, Debussy, Strauss, Wagner – the list goes on. We do so with good reason, because the themes and the beauty of their works transcend time and cultures. The call to action that is before us all today – is to cultivate and disseminate the resonate themes of our time, that are relevant now and into posterity. And just as artists of the past used the media channels of their time, so must we use the mediums of our time – the web, smartphones and tablets, social media and video.

Last April, on a day’s notice via email, my childhood friends from Curtis and Marlboro who have gone on to found Brooklyn Rider and The Knights, played Mahler and Schubert at Chris Hondros’ funeral (some of his favorites). Over 2000 people attended the service in Brooklyn. Another 1000 watched for free on joining in from Libya to Baghdad, Bagram, Beirut, Berlin and Boston. Technology enabled this music of the past to be shared with an audience that needed to grieve together, and pay tribute to a great witness of the present. Sitting in my home watching on my laptop, I felt connected to new friends watching a world away, and was deeply comforted by the haunting melodies from the great composers of the past, played magically by my old dear friends.

–Margo Drakos

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