Live blog: Talking About Creativity with MTT, John Adams, Mason Bates

What follows is a live blog “Talking About Creativity”—our live event in San Francisco.

Talking About Creativity

Saturday, March 17, 1:30-4:30 PDT

Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA

1:30pm – Keynote: Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director, San Francisco Symphony, in conversation with Brent Assink, Executive Director, San Francisco Symphony

2:00pm – Spotlight #1: Mason Bates (a.k.a. DJ Masonic), composer, in conversation with John Adams, composer, moderated by Mark Clague

2:30pm – Spotlight #2: Margo Drakos, cellist and Co-founder, InstantEncore, in conversation with Ed Sanders, Group Marketing Manager, Creative Lab at Google, moderated by Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and critic

3:15pm – Roundtable: Spotlight speakers in conversation with Mark Clague and Steven Winn

Live Blog – Roundtable

4:30pm – Margo Drakos – as a young cellist, so focused on mastering the instrument, I lost track of the broader perspective. The why? How do we connect to the world? So that’s a question – how do we make all stakeholders feel like they are sharing the music?

4:28pm – Audience member asked: How do we get people excited about music viscerally? Like with sports? Brent Assink: Part of it is knowing more about the game. People who know more about the music are more engaged. Playing an instrument is number one indicator of likelihood to attend concerts.

4:23 pm – Mason Bates talks about taking the classical concert behavior to the DJ experience. It’s odd. Just as many people feel it’s odd not to respond to music in the classical concert hall.

4:19 pm – Brent Assink: it’s ok not to like something. There are dozens of concerts each season, it’s not expected that you would like every piece.

4:13 pm – Mark Clague: Content is starting to be out there. Composers have blogs and Twitter accounts, but orchestras need the bandwidth to pull it all together. John Adams: the problem I have with much of the discussion of technology is that is has more to do with the medium, rather than the content. Young people seem more interested in the medium than the message.

4:02 pm – A question for Ed Sanders – how do younger administrators bring about change when they don’t have the power? Ed Sanders – for innovation, you need to let people with certain skill sets run free. It’s hard for managers with experience to do that. But it can be very empowering and powerful. You need to have a “making” culture – to encourage younger employees to get out and do and make things.

4:02 pm – Brent Assink – those who work in the orchestral world have invested so much time in perfecting the audio sound, in person and on high quality recordings. It’s very different to think of a world, or a situation, where that doesn’t matter. People are astonished, in today’s world, to understand that the sound of the orchestra is not enhanced by technology. The microphones you see on stage are only for recording, not amplification.

3:56pm – A plea from Mason Bates: classical music orgs, please stream your concerts. It will NEVER replace the concert experience. Please. Beethoven 9 on your tinny computer speakers will never replace the concert.

3:52pm – Mark Clague: One mistake along the way was separating the professional music-making from the amateur. Putting the professional orch on a pedestal maybe alienated people?

3:43pm – John Adams comments on the sometimes odd marketing of classical music. Margo Drakos believes there could be more communicated around the unique experience of the live concert and the role of the audience to actively listen. Mark Clague: we have to be proud of the things that make us special. The element of respite and reflection and focus.

Live Blog – Spotlight #2

3:22pm – Margo Drakos: You need to relate to your audience where they are or you will no longer be in existence. Ed Sanders: walls are coming down. The companies and orgs who embrace that, who tell their own story, who innovate and try things, are the ones who will survive. It’s exciting times. You can be terrified, or let go and see what happens.

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