I absolutely love that value, that everyone should be able to experience music, regardless of social status and/or economic status. The way that I try to engage with the community is by trying my best to make both myself and the music accessible to everyone. Many people think that they can’t understand classical music, or that it's boring; nothing could be farther from the truth! It can absolutely change your life, it can be the most thrilling thing in the world, the most comforting, the most devastating, the most uplifting. And you really don't need to make it an academic pursuit; if you can understand the Beatles, you can understand Mozart. People need music without knowing it or realizing it, and social or economic status is not a good excuse to keep people from it. Emotions define all lives, and music expresses those emotions intimately and immediately.
I assign each section of the audience a color, and as the piece proceeds, the color of the stage behind the ensemble changes at different times. This signals the audience to begin whispering, and the whispering can therefore move throughout the space, moving from right to left, left to right, etc. It takes on some very interesting sonic dimensions, while at the same time inviting the audience to participate in a really meaningful way in the creation of the piece.
It’s titled Wandering Viewpoint because I was curious about channeling the audience to the sound perspective of two ensembles performing at the same time across a larger physical space. The audience will also notice that there’s a cello soloist who plays almost all the time with the ensembles, and our soloist, Mr. Kaufman, is almost acting as a middle man. Unlike most times with soloists, the audience focus will shift to and from the soloist, wandering here and there between the two ensembles and the cellist. In relation to the actual music, the very beginning mimics Tibetan throat singing in the string instruments which will make very subtle vibrations.
I do think that the Pay What You Can model will certainly get more people to come to concerts, and the fact that Kaleidoscope is programming with a strong emphasis on new music is good for getting people interested in what’s going on now. Kaleidoscope is highlighting and being invested in today’s composers as much as the established composers. Even amongst the established composers, this orchestra is performing underperformed works, which I deeply care about. It seems like a small deal, but when you perform an unknown or underperformed piece by a name an audience recognizes, it helps establish this mindset that having new experiences is a good thing, instead of just hearing the same famous works over and over again. I think that also plays a significant role in keeping the artform alive, so to speak.
For the last couple of years as a composer I’ve been thinking about new listeners, thinking about what might be exciting or pleasing for them in addition to the people I know who are familiar with the canon. As composers, that’s a helpful and meaningful thing we all can do. My whole life, most of my peers were not part of the classical realm, so I am always trying to figure out how to expose my friends to classical pieces, what pieces to show, what not to show them, when to show them the pieces, what context is best.