Since the recital I’m running a Kickstarter for is about giving back to the LA community that’s given me so much, I want to write some short posts highlighting things that that community has given me, to explain why this means so much. This is the first post — expect another one next week!
I’ve always had a lot of thoughts about concerts. It kind of goes with the territory of being a composer/performer — when you spend so many of your waking hours picking apart your own playing and writing, it’s pretty hard not to do the same to others. For the most part, I kept those thoughts to myself, or at most talked about them with whoever I happened to see the concert with. That was fine as far as it went, but that wasn’t very far; when your thoughts just disappear into memory, it’s hard to build on them or notice larger patterns.
I haven’t been writing for New Classic LA for long, but even my short stint has already changed this. Having to produce an actual written review of what I heard means I can’t get away with half-formed thoughts that dissipate with the rising sun. It’s not enough to be vaguely dissatisfied or impressed, I have to try to put my finger on why, to articulate what specifically I think was successful or unsuccessful about a given performance. I also have to do my level best to capture the experience of listening for people who weren’t there — it’s one thing to write a description of a piece for a Music Monday post when the audio is sitting right there; it’s quite another to describe a première of a work that may not be performed again or recorded for years. Writing for New Classic LA has also broadened my concert-going horizons: I never would even have heard of the David Orlowsky Trio’s performance if the Wallace hadn’t requested a review, and I wouldn’t have been able to afford to see the 21c Liederabend if I hadn’t been on the press list — and those two are possibly the two best concerts I’ve attended as an audience member in my entire time in LA.
LA gave me the chance to develop this aspect of my writing and thinking about music, and I want to give back by taking some of those insights about what makes a concert tick and incorporating them into one of my own. If you’ve enjoyed reading my concert reviews, if they’ve added some small value to your life, please consider sending some money my way to help this recital happen — even $5 really does help! And if you’re not in a position to donate, consider sharing it on your social media platform of choice — crowdfunding works best when an entire crowd chips in!