Judith de Haas, European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) violinist, challenges us as artists to open up to changing societies, at the same time keeping the core values and qualities of a discipline. 

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Published at https://rcconference.wordpress.com/judith-de-haas/

A changing artistic world: finding balance

We have probably all noticed it: the artistic world is changing in its discourse. Around us, we can find all kinds of new types of performance and innovative projects, all showing the importance of culture. It makes one very curious about what artistic performance will look like in 2020 and beyond. What should we, as musicians, change or adapt to? Even more important: what do we have to watch out for? As a musician and European Studies-undergraduate, I would like to share some of my thoughts and ideas about the development of artistic performance.

I think one of the key things to achieve in boosting artistic performance is to create more openings into classical music. Initially this might just mean being aware of what is happening and developing in the world around us. We need to be open and willing to go with changing times. From this position, reaching new audiences is possible in several different ways. A few concepts that have so far been seen are: co-operation with other artistic disciplines, creating new performance styles, launching new culture-programs and sharing the work we do by talking and approaching the audience personally.

We have seen all this starting to happen already. There is a big danger though in how far we go with it. We can ask musicians to broaden their vision of the world and society, but we cannot expect them to be less committed to their work and passion by pushing them to study other disciplines such as management and social sciences. We must let musicians be musicians, for the sake of the quality of classical music.  My point is that we don’t have to reduce our professionalism in order to reach more people: it is just about adding something to this, which involves opening up and looking around you. This not only enriches musicians as individuals and as performers, it also contributes to the future of classical music and artistic performance by connecting classical music to more than just ourselves and to the audience we already have.

Another danger in making classical music more universal and accessible is that we go too far and start to simplify it. This musn’t happen. It is important to reach as many people as possible and to keep classical music alive, while also taking care of the integrity and quality of what we do, and ensuring that artistic standards are preserved.

It is all about finding balance. While looking for appropriate ways forward we can only learn by trying and reflecting on new initiatives in artistic performance. These new ideas also need a chance to become successful. Sometimes new projects need time to really work. We have to be patient while being initiators.

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