Composer Lecture, 11 July 2002
"Do not take up music unless..." :
A composer's musings on "classical music" in our time
Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here with you at the Brevard Music Center. For a composer it is really exciting to be about anywhere, since, when the music of living composers is played in concert these days, we're more and more surrounded, not only by pieces of other periods, but by those dual composer dates separated by a hyphen that only leads to the "wrong side of the grass": You know, 1833 hyphen 1897. In our changed world since September 11 many of us, more than ever, acknowledge that it is, indeed, a privilege to be alive and well anywhere! As a nation that yearly honors Thanksgiving Day, I suppose we've always been collectively thankful for our bounty, but it is hard to imagine that, somehow, our thankfulness (not to mention our fear) following the terrorist's attacks on our country is now more fervent than ever. Even before those attacks, a musicologist friend of mine pointed out to me that at the turn of any new millennium there always seems to be more turbulence in the world than at other times. It would certainly seem to be true at this time! Now, in 2002, only time will tell whether or not we'll really eventually "get back to normal," for it seems that "normal" itself has undergone a permanent change. Life is truly a process and, of course, change - which is so very challenging for all of us - is a part of the breathing equation.
It will come as no surprise to any one here that this element of change has been very apparent in the field of the arts, especially during these recent years of negative economic realities. Today in the arts, as in life, even knowing what "normal" is is ever more difficult, much less whether or not we'll ever return to an earlier prescribed "normal." I was especially thinking about this recently as I prepared one of the masterclasses that I will soon present to student composers here. My generation seems to have been at the tail-end as well as, perhaps, at the beginning (for better or worse) of "normals."
A personal example involves publication. I was most fortunate to have been the last composer published by Franco Colombo. Mr. Colombo, the first publisher of Gian Carlo Menotti, he was also the only publisher to have had the vision to publish the 20th century composer pioneer, Edgard Varèse. Mr. Colombo was the son of the President of G. Ricordi in Milan, Italy, the firm "that Verdi built," and Franco Colombo himself worked at Ricordi Milan and eventually went on to run the US division of Ricordi in New York. To have known Mr. Colombo was, in itself, a trip back into history where the publisher was the all-powerful "normal". He met Puccini on two different occasions, was the publisher of Respighi and Villa-Lobos, knew Toscanni and other prominent musicians of his era and frequently dined and gave advice to the likes of Sir Rudolph Bing of The Metropolitan Opera. Several years before his death in the '90's, I did a recorded interview with Mr. Colombo at his home in Toronto, with the understanding that I would only seek publication of it if he and his wife gave permission to do so. It was a fascinating look back at an older "normal" that was at the foundation of American music and publishing for much of the 20th century. Alas, however, after reading the transcribed transcript of the interview, Mr. Colombo - a very modest man - and his wonderfully strong-will wife, Elvira, told me that they felt his words on the tape sounded too much like "cocktail party talk" and gently declined my request to see that the interview was ever published. Still, Mr. Colombo's reflections of an earlier time were full of wisdom, and his thinking toward a new "normal," as regards music publishing and other matters, was incredibly prophetic. Though he and his wife are now dead, I continue to honor his request not to publish the interview. However, for the first time I'll share some of his insightful remarks and observations in an upcoming masterclass to the Brevard composition students as we all wrestle with what is ahead for quality music in this country.
I feel it to be a distinct privilege to "make a living" (as we say) as an American composer in the field of so-called "art" or "classical music." Just as no one here has to be reminded of the value which we hold so-called "classical music," so, too, none of us have to be reminded that the "right" to have "classical music" is hardly an inalienable one guaranteed by our nation's Constitution. Quite the opposite is true and this can readily be seen by anyone who has followed recent trends in Public Radio.
Earlier this spring in the April 19th edition of The Wall Street Journal, an article by James Bowman appeared with a title strangely reflective of the sentiment surrounding the 1950's fatal plane crash of rock star, Buddy Holly. The title read "The Day the Music Died" and was followed by a subtitle: "Public radio gives up on one big reason it was worth listening to." In the article, Mr. Bowman reflects on the news revealed by The Washington Post that NPR was "gutting" its national, daily showcase classical-music program, "Performance Today." Already laying off "Performance Today" employees, at the same time NPR was said to be "expanding its West Coast operations to concentrate on 'the business side of entertainment.'" Mr. Bowman's article was a thoughtful and realistic one. According to one person interviewed in the article (John Patterson of Voice of America), he said: "Public broadcasters are confusing public service with popularity." Tom McCourt, a professor at University of Illinois, Springfield, and the author of Conflicting Communication Interests in America, states in the article that: The NPR cutbacks in classical music programming are "really emblematic of the marketplace mentality that has overtaken public broadcasting in general" and that NPR can hardly "give lead to local stations anymore because it is controlled by them. It is not only covering 'the business side of entertainment.' It is a part of the business side of entertainment." NPR was quick to respond over the national press surrounding the reported "gutting" of "Performance Today", saying that they were not discontinuing the program at all but only making changes that would improve it. Time will certainly tell, but it is very easy to be skeptical, isn't it?
Growing up in the south in the 1950's and 1960's, there was only one radio station in my native city of Charlotte, NC that even played a note of "classical" music and it was via a weekly evening program. It was, indeed, a "classical" program for they didn't stray far from either music of the Viennese Classic tradition [i.e. Mozart, Haydn] or the Romantic tradition [especially Tchaikovsky, whose first movement from Serenade for Strings provided the program's theme music.] But, certainly, I never remember any 20th century music being broadcast. As I recall, the program was on for only an hour each weekday night (though, with foggy memory, I may be over-stating its weekly occurrences) and was aired around 9:00 P.M. Not until the '70's did a good deal of the Carolina region start to be treated to a feast of "classical music." By the time I was living in New York State beginning in 1971, I knew all too well the radio scene from New York to North Carolina (for I always patiently searched the dial for something besides Country & Western, pop and hell-fire-and-damnation preachers on my long, twice yearly car trips back home to visit my family in Charlotte). Not until the later '70's did NPR stations start popping up all over the country. In Charlotte alone you could then receive WFAE-FM (which, at that time, was a classical NPR music station, though now, sadly, a talk station), South Carolina Educational Radio and the all-classical gem, WDAV-FM (which, up until recent years, was independent and not actually an NPR affiliate).
In the upstate New York community in which I lived and worked after moving there from New York City, I was active in helping establish our local NPR station which, like so many similar stations, was proud to offer "alternative" radio and whose backbone was classical music with some news (and not the reverse followed by many stations today that offer news and talk and some classical music). The upstate New York station, as well as other similar stations, was not afraid to have the word "education" in its charter. The late '70's and the '80's, for the most part, were heaven on earth for lovers of quality music programming on radio. Many stations even issued monthly magazines for station members that focused on the music via such things as thoughtful articles highlighting pieces played and interviews with performers, composers and conductors. Not only could you hear several of our nation's major orchestras weekly, hear simul-cast broadcasts of operas in conjunction with PBS TV stations and just hear incredible amounts of established "classical" works programmed, but you could also hear music from our own time. I, like numerous other listeners, heard pieces of music from all periods that were new to me at the time and my life was richer for it. One such incident that I remember occurred just shortly after I moved to Winston-Salem from New York in 1982 to join the music faculty of Wake Forest University. This radio programming and excitement was still at its peak. I vividly remember just barely making a doctor's appointment on time since I had pulled off the side of a busy Winston-Salem road to hear the completion of a very moving symphonic piece that I did not know and didn't hear identified at its beginning. In light of the music, time seemed to stand still. The piece turned out to be Martinu's Symphony No. 1. Soon thereafter, I actively sought out that symphony for my own collection, as well as other Martinu works in both recording and in score. And, when invited in 1992 by the Czech government to be the first American composer to have music performed at the Czech Festival of Choral Arts, my wife and I almost wrecked our backs on our return from Prague carrying luggage containing the multitude of Czech-published and purchased scores of the music of Martinu. And all because of one piece programmed on radio!
Yet, the scenario for "classical music" broadcasting really began to change in the 1990's. Even prior to the '90's in one of our nation's cultural capitals, New York City, it began to become ever more difficult to find quality "classical music" programming over the airwaves. Numerous reasons are always given for these broadcasting changes that we, sadly, know all too well. But, money and marketing are always mentioned as a part of the equation. What was "alternative" has become "commercial." Many NPR stations over the last ten years or so, for instance, have virtually eliminated "classical music" programming altogether (with WUNC-FM in Chapel Hill being a recent close-by example and, in the north, one of New York City's only remaining classical stations, WNYC, recently cut out 25 hours of music programming each week - virtually eliminating all "classical music" in its daytime music schedule). The stations that continue to broadcast classical music more and more seem to strive to not stray too far away from anything but the "Classical Top-40" (or clones thereof). In other words, works that will not offend any listener, much less challenge him or her. NPR station managers have told me that stations must be ever more careful of their choices in music programming since many listeners often use their stations as background music, including doctor's and dentist's offices. Imagine the jolt, they may add, the "drilling experience" if a Bartok String Quartet were played as a dentist filled a top molar! And then, of course, they may further add, Bartok's music may upset a present or future donor to the station! Not only Bartok. I once asked the Music Director of an NPR station that had (and still has) a rich following for its music programming why he didn't ever broadcast Vaughan Williams's symphonies, especially Symphony No. 2? "Well", he said, "works like that have such extreme dynamic contrast that it is difficult for listeners to know where to set their volume levels." I asked another Music Director why his station never broadcast choral music. "Well", he said, "our research shows us that listeners, by and large, do not wish to hear choral music." Imagine my surprise when that very station, some year or so after that statement, began broadcasting choral music and now does so regularly! Asked why, the Music Director explained to me that "new research" had come to his attention indicating that people did, after all, want to hear choral music. Doesn't that just restore your faith in the validity of surveys, polls and the like? Ah, commercialization.
Earlier this year an extensive article appeared in The N.Y. Times about a consultant to NPR stations who has been lucratively busy with his company, running around the country advising station managers that if they wish to thrive in terms of dollars and listener-ship, they'll have to come to their senses and follow all the other sheep and convert to an all-talk and news format. Ah, "alternative radio." What happened to the "alternative" in "alternative radio" and what about that educational part that was such an earlier part of NPR station's mission? Without performances of quality music over radio, how can anyone discover new (new to them if not newly written) moving works, much less get to like or, even, love, them (since repeated hearings are the way we all develop those qualities). Somehow, though, the equation has changed and, for the cause of creative musical programming, the changes have hardly been positive. Fortunately, there remain bright lights around the country, like WDAV-FM in close-by Davidson and WFDD-FM in Winston-Salem (though, over the last several years, classical music programming at the latter has decreased somewhat as music has given way to more news and talk). These stations continue to believe in quality music programming and continue to offer it to an ever-growing core of listeners sick and tired of "talk" radio saturated with rehashed news! To be fair and point to a possible new "normal", the internet and the very portable CD do offer new hope for the future (especially for more specialized musical interests). But not all cars are equipped with CD changers, much less the internet, and neither reaches the number of people that radio does.
The arts, and music in particular, have not just suffered over the radio waves. If we look to government as a role model for placing high value on the importance of the arts in general and their place in public education, we'll certainly be disappointed. However, when Jimmy Carter was President of the U.S. in the '70's we were occasionally reminded in the press that Mr. Carter enjoyed having "classical" music going in the background throughout his work day; the administration of Ronald Reagan - the one that followed Carter's - seemed to place even less value on the arts in general and on music specifically. In a 1983 Reagan administration report (a report, though impacting them, that was written before the birth of most of the students in this room!) entitled A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, the arts were only mentioned twice. Surely education in the arts would have helped then-President Reagan when he, during his presidency, with great aplomb, enthusiastically reacted to positive democratic changes taking place in the Soviet Union. "Just imagine", he exclaimed in a speech aired nationally for all to hear, "the potential of cultural exchange: They can send us The Bolshoi Ballet and we can send them The Beach Boys!" Now I quickly add that I have always been a fan of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, dating back to my teenage years when I was a part of a rock band. No popular music group sang finer, more creative pop music than they and their quality has held up over time. Their intonation and sense of color was second to none in comparison to other pop groups. Too, they were on the cutting edge, with Brian Wilson's song Good Vibrations being the only place in either popular or classical culture where the "serious" mid-20th century electronic instrument, the Theremin, continues to live on. But for anyone, especially a President of the United States, to equate The Beach Boys and The Bolshoi Ballet is na•ve at the best. Why wouldn't he, as an exchange partner, have thought of the New York Philharmonic or, if equating dance with dance, The Alvin Ailey Dance Company or The Martha Graham Dance Company for his comparison? The answer is probably that neither he nor his speechwriters would have thought about it, thereby reflecting the lowest response level to anything: Ignore it. There is a distinctive difference between high culture (for want of a better word) and popular culture. Pop culture has to be immediate in order to survive, for depth - something beneath the surface - is not a pre-requisite.
Still, there is hope! This past April President Bush honored distinguished Americans (through the National Medal of the Arts awards) who have enriched our lives through the arts. Persons included in this recognition were actor Kirk Douglas, painter Helen Frankenthaller, The Alvin Ailey Dance Company, country singer Johnny Cash (!?) and cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. It was telling that Mr. Cash was honored for setting "an extraordinary standard in American music" (not country or pop music, just American music). Most touching, though, was the fact that the ceremonies concluded with a musical performance (again reminding us that music, without saying a word, has communicative powers far beyond those of the other arts). Yo-Yo Ma was accompanied at the piano by our National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in the slow movement from Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3, transcribed for cello. Aside from being a moving and sensitive performance, without saying a word it also provided a valuable cultural example for our country. Not only was Brahms's music featured at a government event, but the performance itself involved a US government official accompanying at the piano a world-renowned cellist! My only wish - clearly showing my bias - was that they would have played music by a contemporary American composer!
So, again, I feel it a privilege to make my living in the field that I do. I have had a steady stream of commissions since the early 1980's and am employed as Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Wake Forest University, one our nation's outstanding liberal arts universities where we, semester after semester, try to convey to our students the value and power of music and all the arts. A recent commission, through a consortium of American orchestras, brought about my new Symphony No. 1 ("Symphony of Seasons") and it will receive its World Premiere performance this coming October by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra. It is a substantial 30-minute work. So, in light of obvious negative trends toward so-called "serious" music, I feel especially fortunate that there are still American organizations that feel strongly about bringing to life music of our own time. I feel very positive, as well, for CD recording companies like Albany Records, which within the past weeks has just released an entire CD devoted to my orchestral music. The performances on it, by the Slovak Radio Orchestra, are top-notch. But I still find it peculiar that an American composer, due to excessive costs in our own country, must go abroad to have his or her music recorded for an American label!
In light of costs, let me briefly return to finish a bit of a government reality check (with no intentions of just bashing one or two administrations). Things have not gotten better since the '80's for our nation's one agency that was established to give financial support and symbolize high culture in our land, the National Endowment for the Arts. Honest and thoughtful people certainly differ on whether such an agency should be in business at all, much less how much it should be funded. But, this agency - even in the '80's when it actively awarded grants to American composers to create new works - was never vastly funded and now remains but a shadow of itself. What small amounts of money remain in its ongoing coffers now primarily go to established performing arts organizations. Funding these established groups has been deemed less controversial by our politicians (in contrast to bringing about a new creation from our own time that, like Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, might just jolt people and/or introduce them to something new that may even wind up changing their lives!). Many who are against public funding for the arts have constantly urged organizations to seek out private money. Yet when such a keen supporter of the arts, like Philip Morris Corporation, did respond, they had to endure vicious and unwarranted attacks from a handful of professional fanatics whose only aim was to destroy. As corporate mergers continued in the '90's and into the new millennium, the pool for private money has decreased, just as, during the same period, funding for the arts at the governmental level decreased or remained stagnant.
So, again, I feel very privileged to do the work that I love and to be able to earn a living at it. Against all odds, I firmly believe that all of us who share the love and passion for quality music, art, dance and drama must work ever-more diligently to insure that its wonders remain for us and for generations to come. The commitment must remain and be communicated through both the audio and print media (encouraging NPR stations to keep Music Director posts and newspapers to not abandon music critic/writer posts), communicated through outstanding performances of quality music, through quality teaching, and through industrious fund-raising to support that which we value. At the heart of it all is the enthusiasm and belief in the power of the arts and the dedication toward realizing the ongoing process of seeing that the arts are an integral part of our society, traits all symbolized and made a reality yearly at this very Brevard Music Center.
As a child growing up in Charlotte, NC, I could not imagine a life without music. Though my loving-parents were not musical, they allowed me to study piano at the age of six and trombone shortly thereafter. I was also so fortunate to have a role model connected with music in my uncle, Wriston Locklair. A life-long bachelor, he was to me a combination of close relative/critic. After WWII, he studied both journalism and music at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before going to college he had been a boy chorister in the choir of men and boys of St. Peter's Episcopal Church and actively sought out all of Charlotte's and the state's cultural organizations, like the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the North Carolina Symphony. Following his graduation from Chapel Hill, he moved back to Charlotte in the early '50's where he became Music Critic for The Charlotte Observer. There he set high standards for music criticism, always seeking to be fair and to write with integrity. Taking advantage of a job opportunity in New York City that would allow him to do the world-wide travel that he wished to do, in New York he still continued his work as a music critic, writing for such publications as Opera News and the, sadly now-vanished, Musical America (though its splendid last editor, Shirley Fleming, continues to keep the content and spirit of that national magazine alive in the bi-monthly "Music in Concert" section of The American Record Guide). Seeking out some of my uncle's writings several years ago, I noted with special interest that he reviewed for Musical America the World Premiere of William Schuman's New England Triptych. His was a most enthusiastic review of the performance and of the piece, ending his review with the prophetic prediction that this work was sure to become a solid repertoire work. Eventually, Wriston wound up in a post that beautifully brought together in counterpoint his interests and skills in both music and journalism: Assistant to the President and Director of Public Relations for The Juilliard School. He served in that role until his sudden death of a heart attack on a subway platform in 1984 coming to join my wife, Paula, and me for dinner, on the very weekend of a major New York premiere of a work of mine and the subsequent making of the first commercial recording of my music. Wriston was at once like a second father to me, but he was also a most objective critic. I continue to miss him and his wise counsel.
Wriston's impact on my life was enormous. He was certainly a role model who taught me about both the value of the arts and their rich rewards. He taught me basics about the importance of punctual correspondence and professional integrity. And, when I moved to New York to do a master's degree and continued to live and work in the state for 11 years and gain my doctorate at Eastman, he saw to it that I was afforded ticket opportunities in New York City to hear significant music by the world's great composers and artists, including World Premieres of works by Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions.
Yes, I'm truly privileged to do what I do, and I value beyond words those in my life, like Wriston and teachers, who ever-supported and challenged me. One of those earliest childhood influences, like with my uncle, was The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the public school concerts they did in the mid-50's that were a part of all school children's education at the time. The conductor of the Charlotte Symphony then was Henry Janiec and I was able to thank him (much to his surprise) in a lecture that I gave during my 1989 Composer-in-Residence stay here at Brevard. Though I had heard my first Handel, Mozart, Vaughan Williams and Copland from records in Wriston's then-vacated late 50's study in my grandmother's attic, under Henry Janiec's baton I heard my first live orchestral music and my life was changed. My interests and development as an organist, a trombonist and, eventually, a composer, were all propelled, in part, by the notes I first heard played by that local orchestra. Looking back, it is clearly the mixture of people (relatives and teachers) who took an interest in me and opportunities in both the church and concert hall that helped fuel the direction of my life. Though I didn't know her words at the time, I did understand Nadia Boulanger (that teacher of Copland and so many other fine American composers of the 20th century) and her sentiments when she said: "Do not take up music unless you would rather die than not do so."
While Madame Boulanger's words may sound a bit extreme to some (and, even, in our present day, a bit too close to terrorist rhetoric), for the serious musician they really ring true. The talent must be present. That is a given. But it is the inner drive and hard work that simply must be there in order for talent to flower and success in music to be achieved. Total dedication is necessary. In the highly competitive field of music, the commitment is enormous. For the instrumentalist envisioning either a solo or orchestral career, rigorous practicing must become almost a religion in itself and it must become as natural as breathing. So, too, it is for the aspiring conductor, singer or other performing musician. For especially the young composer he or she must insure, as early as possible, to begin listening to as much music from all periods as possible, seek out as many recordings and scores as he or she can obtain, learn the basic tools of music (its theory, its history) and make sure to train the inner ear. In other words, a foundation must be established. Even in our computer age (which, because of a commercial false perception that the computer can do everything, appears to be more of a negative than a positive influence on the arts), the training of the inner ear has changed little since the days of Palestrina, Bach, Brahms and Copland. Simply put: The composer must be able to see with his or her ears and hear with his or her eyes. The so-called study of composition can only teach technique. It is then up to each individual to begin the exciting, yet long, journey of developing his or her own distinctive voice out of who he or she is. Put another way, a composer must develop a personality reflective of the creator and the creator's place and time. To not do so only results in faceless music, and history has a rather cruel way of dealing with faceless music! History also has a way of eventually rejecting trends and composers, but the opposite is also true and especially exciting. We've seen this happen repeatedly in the recent decades as the music of Mahler, Ives, Piston, and now Barber, gain new and established life as the music world repeatedly re-hears and re-examines their music (thanks always to conductors and performing musicians who become champions of the composer). What makes the music stick around after a re-look, however, is its integrity. The fact that the music has something to sayÉÉthat it has personality, both reflective of the composer and, hopefully, the composer's nationality and time. These are some of the traits that will, in my view, allow quality music to eventually find an audience (even though the composer most often has to die first!)
Composers especially tend to think about form a great deal. It is certainly true for me, whether I am writing notes or, in this case, words. And, I might add, I firmly believe that composers should actively speak in words as well as in notes. Too often in the past composers have not wished to speak about their music, unfortunately leading further down the aloof, ivory-tower path that audiences often associate with composers. Only last summer at another American music festival a prominent American composer made the statement that "it is not the responsibility of the composer to be an evangelist." I couldn't disagree more! Was not Copland ever traveling the U.S. and abroad (often on behalf of our government), as well as through the influential Sessions/Copland concerts in New York City, tirelessly promoting his own music and the music of other contemporary composers)? And wasn't Bernstein the quintessential "evangelist"? No, if we are in sync with Boulanger's words then, especially in these times where even major orchestras like the St. Louis Symphony and the Toronto Symphony are undergoing monetary hardships, all musicians and/or lovers of music must do everything possible to speak out to help insure that the power and magic of music continues.
The form of my remarks this evening may best be described as a fantasy. The form is loose but certain thematic elements have, hopefully, given it some meaning and direction. To me, two of the most important thematic elements that I hope will emerge from it are enthusiasm and responsibility. Whether we are a composer, an artist/teacher, a student serious about a career in music (studying diligently at this wonderful Brevard Music Center), or a member of our many audiences that simply come to hear music that adds an important dimension to their lives, we all share in the responsibility to see that what we love continues. We must, with our presence and money, all support institutions like The Brevard Music Center, as well as supporting performing arts organizations in our hometowns and nationally. Further, we must support - and be open to it when it is performed - music of our own time. All the music we know and love once had a World Premiere. Through repeated hearings we then grow to like as well as even, possibly, love what was once new to us. We must be vocal to our leaders and media that support for the arts is not only of value to us individually, but to our American society as well.
And there is hope on this front! As with the choral music revelation on the NPR station that I mentioned earlier, the March 31, 2002 issue of the popular PARADE MAGAZINE carried an article by neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks. Entitled When Music Heals Body and Soul, Dr. Sacks speaks of the incredible power of the likes of Mendelssohn and Chopin on the healing of stroke victims. In his words: "For reasons we do not yet understand, musical abilities often are among the last to be lost, even in cases of widespread brain damage. Thus, someone who is disabled by a stroke or by Alzheimer's or another form of dementia may still be able to respond to music in ways that can seem almost miraculous." Months prior to Dr. Sacks article another article appeared in PARADE MAGAZINE that lauded the power of music on the development of children.
The fact that music has such powers to enrich us, and even to heal us, comes as no surprise to any of us involved in it, making it all the more puzzling why public school systems around the country have worked so hard to place music and all the arts out of curriculums, seeing little value in sending children to young person's concerts and, like music in so many churches of our day, trying to "dumb down" what is offered.
But there remains enormous hope and it can be seen in this room and in all the students, teachers and administrators that make this Center what it is. This is not to deny the serious problems that face the arts today. But it is to acknowledge that the potential and power of all the arts, and music specifically, are simply too great to not be allowed to flourish. Problems? Yes. A new "normal"? Most likely. But with challenge comes creativity and new opportunities. I, for one, look with enthusiasm for all that is ahead and hope that you do too.