Fresh off her visit to SHAR, where she conducted a master class with student musicians from the Community Music School of Ann Arbor, Rachel shares her insights behind her exciting new book series, Music by Black Composers.
Practical Passion: How an Independent Artist Took Charge of His Own Career
“. . . as much as I know what lights me up inside, I also know that the future will look different from what I plan.” With these words, violinist Rebecca Fischer offered us a glimpse of the shape shifting that is an integral part of an artistic calling. Her blog article, “Courage: Starting Fresh, Again and Again”, part of “SHAR’s Lives of Artists” series, goes on to describe that new beginnings sometimes require something old to end.
Violinist Jeremy Cohen knows a thing or two about new beginnings. Studying with Itzhak Perlman, performing solos with symphony orchestras and extensive work with chamber ensembles provided Jeremy with the solid foundation necessary to enjoy a fruitful traditional orchestral or conservatory career. But the music of Jeremy’s childhood neighborhood – jazz, Tango, Latin music – called to him, and he just couldn’t abandon it. Fortunately, Jeremy’s skills enabled him to have plenty of work, including live performances, extensive film and television work, and touring as concertmaster with major artists. All this was to change for most independent artists upon the arrival of the internet, smartphones and Netflix, all competing with live music. For Jeremy Cohen, there was no choice except to become a champion . . .
Music is an artificial creation. Often described as the highest form of art, it has nothing close to a natural existence but for the songs of birds and the movement of the planets. Its structure, elements, and substance are all born from human creativity. Every time music takes place, it is a new expression of centuries of influence being funneled through, and reconstructed by, an artist or collaborative group of artists. Only in the past century or so has the audio recording of music played a role in its propagation. Without audio recording, its only media for survival is an individual’s memory and written notation – the latter being the ultimate form for most works beyond traditional folk music. Without notation, great works of sufficient complexity simply couldn’t exist outside of the composer’s mind. However, the ability to write music by hand is going extinct as a pedagogical tool, and with it, the creative voice of each passing generation of musicians.