Acclaimed science journalist Jonah Lehrer has written a new book entitled Imagine: How Creativity Works that sheds a fascinating light on the mysterious process known as “Creativity.” In a recent Wall Street Journal article, adapated from the book, he writes:
…Creativity is not magic, and there’s no such thing as a creative type. Creativity is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It’s a skill. (more…)
This is Spotlight Conversation #2 from our Talking About Creativity event in San Francisco, March 17, 2012.
Ed Sanders, formerly of YouTube, now Group Marketing Manager of the Creative Lab at Google, and Margo Drakos, cellist turned tech entrepreneur and Co-founder of InstantEncore, talk about the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, how technology can serve as a tool for classical musicians, the need to embrace change, plus much more. Moderated by Steven Winn.
This is Spotlight Conversation #1 from our Talking About Creativity event in San Francisco, March 17, 2012.
Composers John Adams and Mason Bates talk about writing music for the modern orchestra, perceptions about classical music, tweeting in the concert hall, the role of technology and more. Moderated by Professor Mark Clague of the University of Michigan.
Here is the first of our videos from Saturday’s event in San Francisco, our keynote conversation with Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony.
In this wide-ranging conversation with SFS Executive Director Brent Assink, MTT discusses the connectedness of all artistic endeavors, reflects on his ability to provide “context” for younger musicians, discusses his work with contemporary composers, quotes from Walt Whitman, and much more. Enjoy.
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra started out as a suggestion from a young marketing employee in London. What if…? What if we could bring together classical music enthusiasts dispersed across the globe? How could technology bring this community together? 30+ million views later, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra became an international phenomenon and in this Q&A Ed Sanders—formerly of YouTube, now Group Marketing Manager of the Creative Lab at Google—explains how that happened.
Question: What brought about the development of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra? Was it that YouTube noticed that the genre was developing in popularity? Or what make the organization feel it would be an interesting activity to present in such a futuristic way?
Ed Sanders: YouTube and Google have always prided themselves on having a distinctly entrepreneurial culture. This is a reflection of that. The idea came from a young marketing employee in the London office, who dreamed up the idea, pitched it, and it became reality. One of the major original data points which piqued interest was the massive yet highly fragmented existing classical music which lived online on platforms like YouTube. But the concept itself is merely one example of an ongoing demo which perhaps only YouTube could do – a manifestation of a wonderful way to showcase the access which YouTube provides, to transcend linguistic and geographic boundaries, and to continually strive to challenge the status quo.
Question: What do you think captured the imagination of viewers about this project? Was part of it this idea that it was so accessible, available to anyone with a computer? (more…)
In our modern world, the creative artist is seen as the “genius” behind a great work of art. But it wasn’t always like this, as author Elizabeth Gilbert explains in this talk. After the phenomenal (and “freakish” as she puts it) success of her book Eat, Pray, Love, she faced the enormous question of what to do next. Was it possible to repeat the success of that book? How could she return to the creative process after such an experience? And how could she face the pressure of writing a “sequel”? Her answer was to turn to ancient wisdom and take a different view of creativity. One that gave more responsibility to external inspiration and less to the creative individual.
Malcolm Lowe is concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the Tanglewood Music Center and the New England Conservatory of Music. We had the chance to sit down with him in December during the BSO’s visit to San Francisco.
The Asphalt Orchestra (really a twelve-piece marching band) has made a name for itself with edgy, in-your-face, street performances. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times describes them as “part parade spectacle, part halftime show and part cutting-edge contemporary music concert.” (Watch video.)
So what happens when the Asphalt Orchestra decides to take their music off the streets and into the concert hall?
It’s interesting to watch their solution to questions that orchestras also struggle with… how do you make a connection to the people on the other side of the music stands? How do you bridge the stage/audience divide? How do you engage people in the music? Their answer is a physical, choreographed performance—with musicians out of their chairs, virtuosic soloist spins taking center stage, and movement, movement, movement.
One last video from our October 23rd event in San Francisco is now available for viewing — the roundtable discussion and Q&A featuring our six Spotlight Conversation participants.
From left to right that’s Steven Winn, San Francisco arts journalist and critic; Amos Yang, Assistant Principal Cellist, San Francisco Symphony, and alumnus, San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra; Neil Harris, Professor of History and Art History, University of Chicago; Jesse Rosen, President/CEO, League of American Orchestras; Afa Sadykhly Dworkin, VP/Artistic Director, Sphinx Organization; Mark Clague, Professor of Music, University of Michigan.
One of my favorite moments is near the end, when a woman prefaces her question by saying she has attended symphonic concerts for 75 years. The audience bursts into applause but then gasps as she continues on to her question saying, “If you’d permit me to opine about music… sound without melody is noise.” In regards to programming, “where does the person who buys the ticket get to have a say?” I really hope she comes back for our next event Talking About Creativity.
In his keynote at our first live event, Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, talked about Community and the powerful impact of El Sistema, Venezuela’s publicly-funded music education program.