College students react to “Following the Ninth”

Part two of Kerry Candaele’s Beethoven trilogy is under way. I pledged $35 for the Kickstarter Project which ends on May 19th, 2016. The way this crowd funding works is that if the goal is not reached, the fundraiser gets nothing. It’s my sincere hope that my friends and readers click on the above link and preview the next film in the making. It’s about Beethoven’s only opera – Fidelio.
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Kickstart Streetlight Cadence beyond paradise: from Waikiki to Los Angeles

Honolulu-based Streetlight Cadence crowdfunds their next album Beyond Paradise for next destination: California

The exciting Honolulu-based quartet Streetlight Cadence announced their plans to leave for Los Angeles earlier this year. More recently they launched a Kickstarter Campaign to fund their next album “Beyond Paradise.” Having heard them perform LIVE on Maui and purchased their CDs, I am curious what they are up to next.

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Crowd funding Eureka! Orchestra

Crowd-funding is THE way to go for new orchestras and new concerts for four reasons. Donate to Eureka! Orchestra for their debut concert in Boston.

Could crowd-funding be THE way to ensure orchestra concerts happen?

Or more specifically, to get new orchestras started?

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New orchestra in Boston: music of Latin America

Unitas Ensemble crowd-funding campaign to raise money for their debut concert in Boston.

Is it possible to start a new orchestra when older, established orchestras are struggling, consolidating, or disappearing?

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Crowd funding: get the music to my orchestra

The title “get the music to my orchestra” begs for attention. The orchestra produces music how does one get the music to the orchestra? Read about crowd funding that’s needed to get the scores to the orchestra.

An orchestra produces music. Why would you need to get music to the orchestra?

The title of Robert Bekkers’ crowd funding project begs attention. He needs to raise enough funds to rent the sheet music of the blind composer Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” or the “Aranjuez Guitar Concerto” so that the musicians can read from the score and perform it for his Doctorate of Musical Arts recital at the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston on Sunday May 11th, 2014.

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Materialism and the art of letting go

Anne Ku questions why we should be owned by what we own. Is materialism really materialism or just sentimentalism? How does one let go of attachments to things?

In this age of post-911, post-2008 financial meltdown, nobody likes to be described as “materialistic.”

When I was trying to decide whether to stay in London or move to the Netherlands, my friend Jackie observed,”You’re not materialistic, Anne. What are you going to do with all the money you earn?” With that, I decided to stop earning money and earn time. I moved to the Netherlands to study music.

Sightreading thesis and piano duet sheet music, San Francisco, May 2011

Today I reassured a friend who made shopping a ritual: “You’re not materialistic. You are sentimental. You are attached to what the things represent. You want quality things. So you take your time.”

Equally, I have asked myself why I should find it so difficult to let go of things when I have been described as being NOT materialistic.

In 2003, I threw an open house one weekend to sell my things so I could leave London with less luggage. The only things I moved to the Netherlands were my sheet music, Laura Ashley dresses, and house plants.

Now I need to do the same with all that I have accumulated in the Netherlands. But every time I see something I recognise, like the photograph of a hand-made white vase for a single rose, I’m reminded of where it came from and how it came to be. It’s a present for such and such occasion. It was given under such circumstances. Because it’s a gift, I should not sell it or give it away. But why should I keep it?

A physical object may remind us of an occasion, a relationship, a conversation, a place, or a moment in time. When we attach ourselves to an object, we are relating to all that it represents.

When we walk into a stranger’s home, nothing has history or represents anything meaningful to us. In contrast, our own homes are full of objects that bear meaning.

Buddhism talks about detachment and emptying oneself. I never understood it until now. Why be owned by what we own? Should we be slaves to objects? I would rather spend my time with people and talk about ideas. How can we detach ourselves from objects that consume our time?

Clean up your house. Adorn the walls with unfamiliar art work. Play music you’ve never heard of before. Distance yourself from what is familiar, or make what is familiar unfamiliar by all these measures. Detach yourself. These are the ways to help you let go of what was once dear to you.

Is it regret that you fear? That if you let go, you will regret doing so?

I have a dozen boxes of sheet music that took 20 to 30 years to collect — an activity I rewarded myself in the basement of a bookstore in London. The music is worth nothing to anyone else but everything to me. How can I possibly let it go?

Transferrable skills: from music to ?

Four years ago, Anne Ku faced the daunting task of getting 40 musicians to play her music. She learned that those skills are transferrable.

This time four years ago, in the historic city of Utrecht, Netherlands, I was contemplating “how am I to do it.”

The task of recruiting musicians to study my music and perform (or rather, premiere) it for the first time and only once — without compensation — was a daunting one.

It would have been easiest to have just one performer play my music. And that performer could be me. After all, I know my own music. I wouldn’t need to find other musicians, convince them to rehearse, and take the risk of playing music that’s never been performed or heard before. And to play it just once?  After all that studying?

Next easiest would be to write music for a duo or a limited number of players. Why did I challenge myself with producing a half-hour-long opera with a sizable ensemble, choir, and soloists? There had to be separate rehearsals with the choir. This was not the path of least resistance.

Where could I find these musicians? Ask their teachers? Approach them one at a time?

How would I get musicians to do it? I asked other composition students. How did they do it? Nobody had written a chamber opera with so many performers before. Orchestra yes. But not opera.

Conductor Henk Alkema greets first violinist and soloists, June 2008. Photo: Some 40 musicians performed in my final exam in composition on 2 June 2008 at Utrecht Conservatory. These photos were taken by Fokke van der Meer
Conductor Henk Alkema greets first violinist and soloists, June 2008. Photo: Fokke van der Meer

What I learned from those months from February to June 2008 was how to produce a concert with no budget. What was involved? It was a collaborative effort.

  • recruiting musicians
  • scheduling rehearsals
  • getting the musicians to arrive on time
  • getting the musicians to show up
  • getting the musicians to commit
  • organizing the music (making the part scores)
  • changing and editing the music
  • preparing the programming notes
  • preparing the slides for the overhead projector
  • setting put the stage
  • getting the event photographed and recorded
  • doing the publicity
  • getting help (stage manager, stagehands, usher)
  • ordering flowers to thank the musicians and selecting wine to thank the conductors
  • arranging post-concert refreshments for the audience
  • arranging dinner for the musicians
  • getting sponsors to pay for printing programs (PDF) and posters and the rest
  • getting the posters and programs printed

Thinking back, these skills are transferrable, for now I am managing an expanding team of volunteers. I am not paying them. They are not paying me. But we all work to the same goal.

The audience at the final exam concert of 2 June 2008. Photo: Fokke v.d. Meer
The audience at the final exam concert of 2 June 2008. Photo: Fokke v.d. Meer