Posts Tagged ‘interpretation’
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A musician’s career is a very exciting one. Being able to perform and show an audience what you love is a luxury many people in other professional fields would be envious of. However, with the highs also come the lows: what if the audience don’t like you? What if the critics don’t like your interpretation? Musicians can both struggle financially and work unsociable hours. Mental health problems can therefore be a serious issue within the industry, one in which music charities are beginning to address.

Help Musicians UK is an organisation with an acute awareness of the problems musicians can face. In 2016 they launched the campaign, Mental Health Campaign – Music and Depression, aiming to break down stigma and start conversations within the music industry about depression and anxiety. The charity, Music and Depression, commissioned the first academic study, ‘Can Music Make You Sick?’, on the relationship between musicians and mental health.

The study, performed by the University of Winchester, found that 71.1% of all respondents believed they had suffered from panic attacks and/or high levels of anxiety at some stage of their career, while 68% reported they had suffered from depression. The findings suggested that musicians might be up to three times more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the general public. This was due to a number of reasons, varying from unregulated working conditions and irregular hours to a belief that musical identity shaped self-worth.

The findings found that there is an urgent need for an accessible service for people who work in the music industry. Since the launch of the campaign in 2016, Help Musicians UK have announced a new fundraising campaign for the world’s first dedicated 24/7 mental health service for people working in the industry. The service will provide both listening and advice services, as well as clinical medical, therapeutic and welfare facilities for those who need it.

Classical Music Magazine – Photo credit: Tharakorn/Shutterstock.com

 

(Written on August 1, 2017 )

On the evening of Wednesday 1stJuly, the pianist Lucas Debargue was awarded an unexpected 4th prize in the final of the fifteenth edition of the Tchaikovsky International Competition. The self-taught pianist was not expected to win when the contestants reached the final concerto stage since he had never played with an orchestra before, and his incredibly unconventional jazz technique irritated more than a few orthodox piano teachers and judges. Two eminent Russian judges on the panel praised him as a wonder for all his flaws though. Dmitri Bashkirov, even declared that Lucas Debargue will soon be considered one of the greatest pianists of our times.

The Moscow Music Critics Association, unsatisfied by the judgement, presented him with its prestigious award for his performances during the competition, which “has become an event of genuine musical significance” and to salute a pianists “whose incredible gift, artistic vision and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience.” Lucas Debargue stole the heart of the Russian public during the competition, even astonishing chairman Valery Gergiev, who broke the protocol by inviting him to play alongside the winners in a recital at the Mariinsky on 14th July.

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Photo credit: Bernard Bonnefon

The self-taught young pianist started playing with friends as a child before being accepted into a conservatoire, but didn’t learn any instrumental technique there! He used to learn Prokofiev’s sonatas by heart and played it faultlessly, admitting himself, “for Rachmaninoff’s 3rd concert it’s impossible, we can’t learn 15 000 different directions. […] But I always learn by ear!” He gave up the piano at the age of 16 and worked in a supermarket to pay for his literature studies. He finally restarted at the age of 20 in a disciplined, professional way to prepare for the Tchaikovsky International Competition and ended up four years later in 4th place, playing with what the media defined as an “unmissable style

Since the competition, the enthusiasm of the audience and the media has grown, enhanced by a wave in social media. Aside from the unusual path he has taken, it’s his personal interpretation of the music that marvels. Recently he has given interviews with both France Musique and Parlons Piano to talk about interpretation. “I think there is a sacrifice to made” he said, “If you want to perfectly execute a piano piece, then you will have to sacrifice the music. Because the pianist puts himself under the spotlights and says “look how well I can play”, but there is no music and the truth is that when you play, you should not know what is coming next in the music”. He explains, that after working hard for hours on a piece, after knowing all the notes, silences and nuances, the only thing to be done is to jump without a parachute, submerged in the music. “ I don’t pursue technical perfection in a difficult piece […]. What is important, is to be carried by the music, to be active in its reception without anticipating what is coming next at all.” And quoting Aristotle, he added “the more violent act between letting an object fall and catching it again, is to catch it, because there is nothing more natural on earth than gravity. With music, it’s the same.”

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Photo credit: Mariinski Theatre

In any case, in this strict orthodox world that is the pianistic sphere, it is nice to have this different approach being recognized for a change. Interpretation and music should speak over technique and the difficulty of a composition. After all, if music is understood as an infinite space of freedom of speech, we should be welcoming a pianist who is already proposing an original and unique language.

(Written on August 19, 2015 )

Daisy Evans

Opera Director – Silent Opera

Jude Christian

Theatre Director

Dominic Dorin

Film Director – I Owe Youth

Last night’s Noted event hosted by WildKat PR and Sane & Able took an informative and engaging look at the world of Directing, with three professionals from the industry. These speakers included Daisy Evans – Opera Director at Silent Opera – Jude Christian – Freelance Theatre Director who has worked for the Royal Opera House Youth Opera Company and the National Theatre Studio – and Dominic Dorin – Film Director at I Owe Youth.

Discussion at the event was inspiring and helpful to people of a variety of professions that are linked into this area of the industry, ranging from those interested in Directing, to trained or aspiring actors/actresses, film producers and much more. The speakers described their differing beginnings in studying, experience and directing, and how they got to the level of success that they have reached at this stage of their careers. Daisy Evans of Silent Opera trained at the Royal Academy of Music as a singer but soon realised that she wanted to become a director, Dominic Dorin on I Owe Youth came from a background in design and found his way into film through a sound design internship and a directorship in fashion, and freelance director Jude Christian studied English at university where she started directing and then followed up this interest with a directing course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

When asked about financing their dreams and ambitions, the topic of sponsorship was raised along with some helpful ‘dos and don’ts’. Daisy suggested that the Arts Council should not be the first go to for launching a business or production, funds such as sponsorship and bursarys can be imperative for realising directing dreams and generating the finance necessary create a successful production. Jude made the important point that: “when asking people for money, be specific about what it is for”, as you are not likely to be sponsored without having made your creative aims and budget clear. Daisy added that it is important not to “think about sponsorship as money” and instead consider what resources might be useful to you such as the hiring of stage equipment or batteries. Dominic described how using creative ideas and presenting them practically can help the sponsorship process: “To help get sponsors we create beautiful story boards to help us get people on the same page visually”. It’s industry savvy thinking such as this that has aided all three of these young and successful professionals.

How do you as a Director encourage everyone involved to give their interpretation, but also retain the authority to make the final decisions? Ultimately, it seems that the actor/actress has the last say in what happens on ‘the night’ of a production in both theatre and opera as Jude pointed out in an amused tone. She made the quite practical point that as a Director you need to make it your business to get all those involved in a production on board with your aims and vision. However there is a manner in which to do this which is loaded with respect, patience and understanding amongst your ultimate authority. Dominic described how: “When you’re on set the director’s decision should be respected, but the director shouldn’t abuse that position.” The speakers agreed that is important to be authoritative, but ultimately you have to earn the respect and trust of those you are working with and the company at large.

One answer that is only born from a career of learning from success and mistakes is to the question: ‘If you could go back in time. What advice would you give yourself?’ Interestingly a variety of answers arose. A good piece of advice for those still studying came from Dominic who said that he would tell himself: “not to waste time. While you’re at uni, do as much as possible and start making decisions.” Where attitude and approach is concerned Daisy described how pacing yourself is important – be driven but try not to do everything all at once. Jude mentioned how a calm approach helps: “When I came to London I just said yes to everything. I’d definitely tell my past-self to chill out.”

The evening was not just an informative success due to the talk and excellent speakers, but the WildKat PR and Sane & Able offices were a buzz with enthusiastic arts and business individuals who have a passion for the industry and a hunger to learn more.

Take at look at our next event ‘Building your App’ on Wednesday 26th February. The Noted March event on Successful Social Media has also been announced on Eventbrite.

Check out Noted via Twitter or Facebook for more quotes from the speakers and information about the event.

Check back soon for a video blog from last night’s guests!

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(Written on January 23, 2014 )