There are many inspirational videos of the Ted Talks on You Tube. One that is especially relevant to this blog was given by Benjamin Zander, Music Director of the Boston Philharmonic and faculty member at the New England Conservatory. His talk, Classical Music with Shining Eyes, was given in February 2008 in Monterey, CA.
The title of this posting is taken from that talk, in which he states, "Everybody loves classical music. They just haven't found out about it yet." With the confidence of a true leader, he proceeds to demonstrate this assertion to the audience of 1,600 attendees in a very touching way.
And during the ovation he received at the end of his performance, he leaped up from his piano bench and rushed to the front of the stage, applauding the audience. He then explained that at a similar demonstration for 12 year old school children he applauded in a similar way. And when asked, one of the children correctly explained why it was appropriate for him to be applauding them, by saying, " 'Cause we were listening! "
And therein lies the beauty of live musical performance, that one does not enjoy with even the best recorded performances on LP, CD, or DVD. With live performance, the audience participates in the event, providing attention that can inspire the performers to new heights. When we witness live performances, we should not consider our roles to be passive, but rather that we are helping to create that moment. The Ted audience here created an example of an audience "listening, understanding, and being moved by a piece of Chopin," the Prelude in E-Minor (opus 28, no. 4).
Before playing the Chopin, Zander invited each person to participate in the performance, saying "Would you think of somebody who you adored, who is no longer there." And so I thought of Marcia (RIP 1944-2009) and found myself moved at the end.
Please watch the video and savor the joyful presentation.
My hope is that this blog will "awaken possibility" in the readers, just as Zander came to realize that it was his role "to make other people powerful" through his conducting.