A few weeks ago, I received a DVD of video clips from the Glass Vase House Concert of 23rd May 2010 from Julian Scaff, the videographer and film maker. These clips, of varying lengths and file sizes, bring back sweet memories of that long day of sunshine, music, food, drink, and conversation.
A few weeks ago, I received a DVD of video clips from the Glass Vase House Concert of 23rd May 2010 from Julian Scaff, the videographer and film maker. These clips, of varying lengths and file sizes, bring back sweet memories of that long day of sunshine, live music, Egyptian dinner, home brewed beer, French wines, and delightful conversation.
During the first concert, something else was happening in the kitchen.
The second concert was divided into indoors (Baroque cello duo) and outdoors (harp). Here I am outdoors, in front of the garden house.
How can I get the video clips to the performers?
Even earlier, the photographer Serge van Empelen sent me a CD containing his art photos of the musicians. How do I display these for all to see and use?
These are all huge files — to big to send by e-mail. Someone with time, interest, and the right set of skills would be able to make a nice little movie of clips from the concert and a nice photo album. Any volunteers? Or should we have another concert to view the videos?
The most important concert in a music student’s years at a conservatory is the final exam recital. Aside from passing all required subjects, the final year student must also pass the final exam concert, which is free and typically one hour long without intermission. Three musicians who performed at the Glass Vase Concert will give their final exam concerts this week.
The most important concert in a music student’s years at a conservatory is the final exam recital. Aside from passing all required subjects, the final year student must also pass the final exam concert, which is free and typically one hour long without intermission.
For performance students, the final concert consists of a balance of solo and non-solo repertoire spanning various styles, e.g. from Baroque to contemporary periods. For composition majors, this consists of performance of original works. A jury decides on the final grade.
In the Netherlands, a PASS mark is a 6. A perfect mark is a 10.
Two years ago I organised 40 musicians to perform my compositions at Utrecht Conservatory. It was a huge project that nearly sucked the life out of me. What I learned from it was the need to get the experience of producing concerts much earlier on. Since then, I’ve been encouraging my younger classmates to get this experience so it would not be a shock when the time comes.
Utrecht Conservatory is the oldest of eleven conservatories in the Netherlands. It’s located in two old buildings a few minutes’ walk from the central station (Utrecht Centraal) in the famous Museum District. The classical music concerts are usually held in the yellow building called K&W which stands for Kunst en Wetenschappen (Art and Knowledge). The concert hall inside is built to modern acoustical standards (perfect reverb ratio for classical music). The other building (brown) contains a chapel where many early music concerts are given. The brown building is a former men’s hospital.
A few weeks ago, 23rd May 2010 to be precise, we held a Glass Vase Concert (4 concerts + dinner + jam session) to help some of the younger musicians prepare for their final exam concerts. These “tryouts” were meant to allow them to play in front of an attentive (and appreciative) audience.
Because of the timing of various competing activities, I was not able to blog about the importance of these tryouts for final exam concerts. Two of the musicians have already passed their exams. The remaining will give their concerts very soon. Let me introduce them here.
Thursday 17 June 2010 at 18:00 in the concert hall of the K&W Building
Maria Pozdynakova, Russian harpist, will give a concert for her Master of Music final exam. Some of the pieces include
J.L.Dussek: Sonata Es major
M.Flothuis: Pour le tombeau de Orphee
She gave the first outdoor concert in the Monument House Concert Series, her concert harp having acclimatised to the Garden House overnight. Her choice of repertoire was very daring but this being a house concert, the audience loved it.
Earlier in December 2009, she gave a solo concert of works of Russian composers. Hailing from Moscow, she gave the audience a feeling for music at a Russian tea house. See video, photos, and guestbook comments at “Sold out, full-house, standing room only.”
Maria played the harp in two of my compositions in my final exam in 2008: Culture Shock! and Elegie for Ensemble.
The month of June is busy with final exams and auditions. On Friday 18th June, several pianists will be giving their Bachelor of Music final exam concerts. Two of these pianists played in the Glass Vase Concert.
Leonie de Klerk will give her exam at 10:30 am. Her programme is as follows:
JS Bach (1685-1750) Toccata in e, BWV 914
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Sonate in D, KV 576
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Suggestion Diabolique, opus 4 nr. 4 ‘Prestissimo fantastico’
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) Ballade nr. 4 in f, opus 52 ‘Andante con moto
Alexander Skrjabin (1872-1915) Etude in cis, opus 42 nr. 5 ‘Affannato’
On Friday 18th June at 14:00, Thijn Vermeulen will give his final exam concert. His programme includes
Triana by Albéniz,
Haydn’s c-minor sonata Hob.16/20 ,
Les Soireés de Nazelles by Francis Poulenc and
works by J.S. Bach and Ligeti.
Also Trio ART (Anna Sophie Torn, violin; Remco Woutersen, cello; Thijn Vermeulen, piano) will perform Rachmaninoff’s first Trio Elégiaque in g-minor.
Once upon a time, about 5 to 6 years ago, I would go to all final exams, which are typically organised by instrument and major subject. You can expect Friday 18th June to be piano day, for the jetsetting piano teachers (all master performers in their own right) to convene for their students’ most important moment. However, this Friday I won’t be attending any concert. I will only be able to go to Maria’s concert on Thursday the 17th.
By the time I publish this blog entry, there would have been 11,000 visitors (not counting myself) to this site since 24 March 2009.
Why is this number significant?
Surely there are better indicators of the popularity of this blog. Economists would look at the rate of increase, per day, per week, per month, etc. Statisticians would look at the average growth, the top most-viewed pages, and other measures.
11,000 is a nice number. Not long ago, I saw it hit 10,000. I wonder when will it hit 12,000?
Does the euro blogger Edward Hugh track his blog traffic? He made headline news when the euro weakened. He had warned about this years ago but no one (seemingly) paid attention.
My warning is simple: we need to pay attention to what’s going on in cultural economics, as professional artists, culture vultures, and anyone who wants to continue to produce, consume, and enjoy the arts.
Economists spend a lot of time figuring out the factors that influence a decision. They determine which factors are more important than others and to what extent they contribute to the decision making process. The availability of information is key to informed decisions. Also important is awareness of one’s preferences and values. On the third day of this international conference on cultural economics (ACEI 2010 in Copenhagen), I had to choose one of 8 parallel sessions to attend
Economists spend a lot of time figuring out the factors that influence a decision. They determine which factors are more important than others and to what extent they contribute to the decision making process. The availability of information is key to informed decisions. Also important is awareness of one’s preferences and values.
On the third day of this international conference on cultural economics, I had to choose one of 8 parallel sessions to attend from 09:00 to 10:30 before a half-hour coffee break and one of 3 panel discussions from 11:00 to noon. The rooms were dispersed on the ground floor, first floor, and second floor of the impressive and spacious building of Copenhagen Business School.
As a musician, I am interested in the topics to do with music, performance, concert production, marketing, copyrights, and musicians’ careers. As an individual, I am also curious what I could learn from areas outside of music, especially topics I have absolutely no background, on the assumption that I might be surprised and learn something useful.
In short, I could find every topic interesting. The 8 parallel sessions were arranged by topic. Each session offered three to four papers. The titles, authors, and abstracts were available online weeks ago. A majority of the 185 papers submitted for presentation (which ranged from a few pages to 30 or 40 more) were available as PDF download from the ACEI 2010 website.
If only I could clone myself or send agents to the ones I did not attend, I would be quite happy.
In the end I used the process of elimination to eventually narrow down to two sessions. Can you guess which session I chose to attend?
Cultural tourism 1:
care of historical belongings, good practice in Europe, cultural heritage routes in South Africa
cultural clusters and the example in Copenhagen, sustainable town development example of a Japanese town, Italian viewpoint of culture-led local development
license and rights distribution for copyright uses on the Web, intellectual property rights case of 19th century Italian operatic music, effects of early music copyrights on composers’ careers
Art market 2:
role of digital information sources in the art market prices, expert evaluations in the Low countries, investment in visual art
influence of funding by advertising on diversity of TV broadcast, how broadcasting quotas harm program diversity, control European TV in the digital age
do policy reviews matter study of arts in Australia, sponsoring in times of economic crisis
threatre participation through attendance, consumer choice of theatrical productions, democratisation in the gastronomic market
who contributes to the British Museum, pay as you go for museum pricing, causes of variation in museum attendance rate in USA, museum demand function estimation
After keynote lectures on economics of media and cultural heritage sites by distinguished economists Gillian Doyle and Bruno S. Frey respectively, the 250 conference delegates convened for a sandwich lunch. Although my primary interest is music, I soon realised that I may have to atttend sessions NOT on music to learn from analogous examples. There are many parallels between producing a concert and launching an exhibition, for instance.
Another way to choose which session to attend is by the fame of the speaker, in which case I should look for Arjo Klamer, Ruth Towse, Hans Abbing, and David Throsby.
After keynote lectures on economics of media and cultural heritage sites by distinguished economists Gillian Doyle and Bruno S. Frey respectively, the 250 conference delegates convened for a sandwich lunch.
The delegates from 37 nationalities quickly split into geographic and age clusters at lunchtime. At one table were the older economists whose seminal papers on copyright, cultural values, and other important contributions to cultural economics made them household names in this relatively young field which some would say borders on the edge of economics (not unlike environmental economics as one Belgian professor claimed at the city hall reception the previous evening). At other tables the younger economists gravitated towards doctoral researchers who had already met each other the previous day. I found myself squeezed between the latter.
There were other clusters, such as the three Norwegians at the end of my lunch table and the group of Japanese at another. An hour later, we all dispersed into several parallel sessions for the first set of 185 papers being presented at the start of the ACEI 2010 conference (http://www.acei2010.com).
Conferences like this are a market place for practitioners with problems in search of researchers with solutions, and hopefully vice versa. I complained to Professor Tyler Cowen yesterday that I wished some of the findings of cultural economics would reach practitioners sooner. In truth, I had to dig quite hard to find, read, and understand the implications of published research in this field. As a practioner, it was not always obvious how the research conclusions translated into immediate, practical use. Cowen observed that there were plenty of cultural economists and practitioners but perhaps not people who were a blend of both he saw as required to bridge the gap (in communication).
The gap was very evident. The first parallel session I attended was one on music and movie piracy, largely econometric studies that steered the discussions on methodology and data. The second session I chose was quite the opposite — museum management, funding, visitor experience, and digitalisation/documentation. The discussions were based on practical experience, with the highlight being Tate Modern as a successful example of private funding.
While previewing the various papers available for download from the conference website (http://www.acei2010.com), I found myself formulating a new hypothesis about attendance at these parallel sessions.
Papers that are not available (i.e. not linked from the website, not submitted, or not available for preview) command some degree of curiosity. More people may attend those sessions due to lack of information unless the abstracts sway them otherwise.
Papers that are well-written may not necessarily draw the size of audience as expected because of the risk of too much information, too complete information (which may cause the delegate to decide not to attend), or the wrong information (to lead the delegate to a wrong decision not to attend).
Although my primary interest is music, I soon realised that I may have to atttend sessions NOT on music to learn from analogous examples. There are many parallels between producing a concert and launching an exhibition, for instance.
Another way to choose which session to attend is by the fame of the speaker, in which case I should look for Arjo Klamer, Ruth Towse, Hans Abbing, and David Throsby.
Efter keynote foredrag om økonomien i forbindelse med medier og kulturarvssteder, som anerkendte økonomer Gillian Doyle og Bruno S. Frey henholdsvis 250 konferencedeltagere indkaldes til en sandwich frokost. En time senere, vi alle spredt i flere parallelle sessioner for præsentationerne af det første sæt på 185 papers præsenteres i starten af ACEI 2010 konferencen.
Selv om min primære interesse er musik, jeg indså snart, at jeg kan blive nødt til atttend sessioner IKKE på musik til at lære af lignende eksempler. En anden måde at vælge er ved berømmelse af højttaleren, i hvilket tilfælde jeg skal kigge efter Arjo Klamer, Ruth Towse, Hans Abbing, og David Throsby.
Note: I don’t know which button I accidentally pressed on this Danish keyboard, but it translated my English text into Danish. Luckily I retrieved the English version (next blog).
Efter keynote foredrag om økonomien i forbindelse med medier og kulturarvssteder, som anerkendte økonomer Gillian Doyle og Bruno S. Frey henholdsvis 250 konferencedeltagere indkaldes til en sandwich frokost.
Den 37 nationaliteter hurtigt splittet op i geografiske og alder klynger ved frokosttid. På et bord var ældre økonomer, hvis skelsættende papirer om ophavsret, kulturelle værdier, og andre vigtige bidrag til den kulturelle økonomi gjort dem kendte navne i denne relativt unge området, som nogle vil sige grænser på kanten af økonomi (ikke ulig miljøøkonomi som et belgisk professor hævdede på rådhuset døgnet aftenen før). På andre borde de yngre økonomer gravitated mod ph.d.-forskere, som allerede havde mødt hinanden den foregående dag. Jeg befandt mig klemt mellem sidstnævnte.
Der var andre klynger, som de tre nordmænd i slutningen af min frokost bordet og gruppen af japanske på et andet. En time senere, vi alle spredt i flere parallelle sessioner for præsentationerne af det første sæt på 185 papers præsenteres i starten af ACEI 2010 konference.
Konferencer som denne er en markedsplads for praktikere med problemer i deres søgen efter forskere med løsninger, og forhåbentlig vice versa. Jeg klagede til Professor Tyler Cowen går, at jeg ønskede nogle af resultaterne af den kulturelle økonomi ville nå praktiserende tidligere. I sandhed, jeg havde at grave ret svært at finde, læse og forstå konsekvenserne af offentliggjort forskning på dette område. Som en praktiserende læge, var det ikke altid indlysende, hvordan den videnskabelige artikler oversat til brugbar visdom. Cowen bemærkede, at der var masser af kulturelle økonomer og praktikere, men måske ikke folk, der var en blanding af både han så som kræves for at bygge bro (i kommunikation).
Kløften var meget tydelig. Den første parallel session jeg deltog var ene om musik og film piratkopiering, i vid udstrækning økonometriske undersøgelser, styrede drøftelserne om metode og data. Den anden session jeg valgte, var det modsatte – museum management, finansiering, oplevelse og digitalisering / dokumentation. Drøftelserne var baseret på praktisk erfaring, med højdepunktet er Tate Modern som et vellykket eksempel på privat finansiering.
Mens du de forskellige papirer til rådighed for download fra konferencens hjemmeside, Fandt jeg mig selv at formulere en ny hypotese om deltagelse i disse parallelle møder.
Papers, der ikke er tilgængelige (dvs. ikke er knyttet fra hjemmesiden, ikke fremlagt eller ikke er tilgængelige for preview) kommandoen vis nysgerrighed. Flere mennesker kan deltage i disse møder på grund af manglende oplysninger, medmindre de abstracts slingre dem på anden måde.
Papers, der er velskrevet kan ikke nødvendigvis trække på størrelse med publikum som forventet på grund af risikoen for alt for mange oplysninger, også fuldstændige oplysninger (for at gøre den delegerede beslutte ikke at deltage), eller den forkerte information (at føre uddelegere en forkert beslutning ikke at deltage).
Selv om min primære interesse er musik, jeg indså snart, at jeg kan blive nødt til atttend sessioner IKKE på musik til at lære af lignende eksempler. Der er mange paralleller mellem at danne en koncert og igangsætning af en udstilling, for eksempel.
En anden måde at vælge, hvilken session til at deltage er ved berømmelse af højttaleren, i hvilket tilfælde jeg skal kigge efter Arjo Klamer, Ruth Towse, Hans Abbing, og David Throsby.
Listed in the programme of the ACEI 2010 conference on cultural economics today at 19:00 is a free concert at the University of Copenhagen. As a delegate I was given no information in the conference pack except for an envelope containing two post-concert drink tickets.
Listed in the programme of the ACEI 2010 conference on cultural economics today at 19:00 is a free concert at the University of Copenhagen. Music aficionados with opportunity costs of doing something else for the evening would question,”What kind of concert? Who is playing?”
If it were a free concert, I would like to invite my Danish hosts to accompany me. As a delegate I was given no information in the conference pack except for an envelope containing two post-concert drink tickets.
I asked a man at the registration desk, “Where is the concert? Who is playing? Are there seats available to bring other people?”
I could not get a definite answer until I met a professor from the university who had organised the event.
“Nobody is playing,” the grey-haired Dane replied. “It’s a choir.”
“What kind of choir?”
He could not tell me what kind of choir or the name of the choir. I decided not to ask about the programme. “Where is it? Can I bring my friends?”
“It’s at the University. Norreport metro station. 4 minute walk. You can’t miss it. Everyone knows where the University of Copenhagen is.”
“Will there be food or should we have dinner first?”
“Have dinner after the concert at 20:00. But you’re on your own.”
This conversation just goes to show that concerts, like lectures by famous professors and international conferences on cultural economics, are not the main and only attraction. People go to meet other people. People go for community.
I wonder if any other of the 250 delegates bothered to find out the details of this evening concert. Surely as cultural economists they would be weighing the trade-offs of spending their time with other delegates versus some other meaningful activity, such as preparing for their presentations or discussing the intricacies of their research.
Or could I be mistaken by the lure of the two “free drink” tickets? They are incentives for networking, i.e. sit through the concert and stay afterwards to mingle and socialise. The concert serves as a mere gathering point. Who sings what or whatever isn’t imporant. It’s the occasion that counts. And the drinks, of course.
This morning at Copenhagen Business School, I introduced myself as a full-time musician, giving up practising and concertising this week, to meet the cultural economists whose works I’ve read and helped explain the paradoxes in the music and arts world that I’m in. I came to the 4-day conference to understand that irrational addiction called music.
First thing that struck me when I landed at Copenhagen Airport yesterday evening was how clean and futuristic it felt. Everything in Denmark appeared to have been designed for efficiency.
After picking up my small suitcase from baggage claim, I inserted my euro credit card into the ticket machine and got a train ticket into the city. My Danish friends were already waiting to welcome me to their home with chilled white wine and a tasty home-cooked dinner.
This morning at Copenhagen Business School, I introduced myself as a full-time musician, giving up practising and concertising this week, to meet the cultural economists whose works I’ve read and helped explain the paradoxes in the music and arts world that I’m in. I came to the4-day conference to understand that irrational addiction called music.
“Expain what you mean by addiction,” asked Professor Tyler Cowen whose cultural economics blog, The Marginal Revolution, has made headline news and continues to lead a cult following of superstar status. He led one of the three doctoral research seminars on cultural economics prior to the official conference opening today.
“Making music is highly addictive,” I began. “You get into a flow, making something so beautiful to play and to listen to, whether by yourself, or even better, with others such as in chamber music, that you don’t want to stop. Whether you are practising at home, rehearsing with others, getting coached, or giving a concert, you can get the same kind of adrenalin rush or endorphin kick that athletes get. You want to get it again and again.”
A Portuguese doctoral student observed, “It’s interesting that you are referring to addiction from the production perspective. I’m sure most people think of addiction from the consumption side. There is a book about how our brains are wired to enjoy music.”
I had not thought of that at all.
Cowen added, “I doubt producing music is as addictive as you say, otherwise there would be more people making music instead of the small percentage of the population.”
I added another hypothesis, “For musicians, the utility of making music is so high that everything else seems boring and tedious.” The addiction and the high utility might explain why musicians are willing to perform for free.
I touched briefly on the paper I am presenting later in the week, “House concerts for art music: multiple stakeholders, audience development, and sustainability.” The 14-page PDF document and other papers are available for free download from the ACEI website.
“Has it ever occurred to you that people go to concerts not just for the music?” Cowen highlighted. “They go for affiliation —- to be part of the community.”
I hadn’t thought of this before. But I have tried to use all sorts of “pulls” to get people to come to our concerts: free entry, good wine, exotic cuisine, interesting repertoire, etc. Sadly many musicians, like myself, still prefer to believe it’s our music or our musicianship that attracts people to come to our concerts.
How many other cultural practitioners are here to learn and have their beliefs challenged? I can’t wait for the conference to begin!
The third thing we weren’t taught in a classical music education is contact with our listeners. At conservatory, we were not taught to promote ourselves or our music. Least of all, we were not taught to get to know our listeners, let alone build a fan club. If we don’t know our fans, how can we contact them?
The previous blog got too long. The third thing we weren’t taught in a classical music education is contact with our listeners.
I mentioned in another blog that classical musicians don’t know their fans. At conservatory, we were taught to interpret, analyse, perform, teach, and compose music at conservatory. We were not taught to promote ourselves or our music. Least of all, we were not taught to get to know our listeners, let alone build a fan club. If we don’t know our fans, how can we contact them?
The blog simplifies the formula as follows:
Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model
Classical musicians want to spend as much time as possible practising and perfecting their music. This explains why agents and impresarios are necessary to deal with everything else. In a big concert hall, it’s impossible to look into the black void to see who your fans are. Only with a small audience can you see them.
Getting to know your fans requires time to network with them. The best time is after a concert. There are no free drinks or snacks after a concert at the conservatory.
I was at a final exam concert recently, packed with supporters of the singer whose teacher applauded her as her first master’s student at the conservatory. She said,”Now let’s pop the champagne.” (or something to that effect.) The student replied,”Thank you. I have given you my music. That’s all I have.” (or something to that effect).
Indeed, after every concert at the conservatory the opportunity to stay and network is squashed by lack of drinks and food to lure people to stay. If musicians are conditioned to leave right after a concert, where is the opportunity to get to know who your fans are? If you don’t know who they are, how can you contact them?
The best time to learn about succeeding as a self-employed musician is after conservatory studies. But this is where the conservatory is no longer obliged to educate you or to ensure that you do make it in the real world. As conservatory students, we didn’t learn how to get gigs.
Now that many of my musician friends are graduating, I would like reflect upon what I learned in the past two years after conservatory.
My hypothesis is that even if the following topics are taught at conservatory, students would rather spend more time on performance or composing (their main subject). The best time to learn about succeeding as a self-employed musician is after conservatory studies. But this is where the conservatory is no longer obliged to educate you or to ensure that you do make it in the real world.
The black hole after conservatory is felt by many people, including myself.
I felt this void today when I met with the director of a local residence for elderly patients with dementia.
The 600-year old building has gone through extensive renovation such that it feels like a 5-star hotel. Conveniently located in the Museum Quarter of central Utrecht, a Roman city of cobbled stones, the impressive building has a brand new concert hall that seats 80 to 100 people. The new Yamaha grand piano gives a velvety soft sound, perfect for my piano guitar duo.
Yet as I sat in her office with my various marketing material, I am confronted with a disturbing reality.
“I am flooded with enquiries from musicians and people who know musicians,” she exclaimed. “Everyone wants to play in our concert hall. I have conservatory students willing to play for free.”
A knock on the door interrupted our conversation at 10:30 am. One of her staff complained that they’ve run out of bread.
“Call the baker,” she said.
“Nothing is open until noon.”
“Call the baker after 12,” she said.
As conservatory students, we didn’t learn how to get gigs. We were happy to play for free. We didn’t know how to get people to come to our concerts unless we told them to come to the conservatory where every concert was free.
After conservatory, we compete with musicians who are willing to play for free.
What differentiates us from the not-yet-graduated musicians?
We need an income. We can’t perform in the conservatory anymore. Where can we play and get paid?
So the first thing that we should have learned at conservatory is how to get paid concerts.
We’re taught to find students to practise our teaching on. In the training for a piano teaching diploma, my teacher told me to get started early. Learn to build a piano teaching practice.
What if you don’t want to teach? What if you want to perform? What if you want to compose for a living? None of my compositions teachers told me how to get a commission, how to apply for funding, and how to get paid as a composer.
If anyone is interested in this topic, please LEAVE A REPLY below and mention whether you want your comment published or not. I have learned a lot more things not taught in the 4 years I was at conservatory. And I’d like to continue onto another blog about “what they don’t teach you at conservatory.”