Monday, September 21, 2009

Renee's Revelations

Toward the end of the summer I started reading "The Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer" by Renee Fleming. I received it as a Christmas gift, and in looking at the cover alone expected it to be a book which would make me feel insufficient. THe back cover stated it was an autobiography of her voice and the story of her artistic development. I of course expected to read about nothing but instant success and perfect experiences. To my surprise, this was not the case. To read about a famed singer with a dazzling career write of losing competitions and being rejected from various programs was actually quite comforting. It is sometimes hard to remember the path to consistency and a successful musical career is a process. 

I managed to find some time after class on Tuesday to get a few pages in here and there, and felt as though Ms. Fleming had been a part of our class. In one part of the book she discusses "The Business", bringing up managers and traveling and organizational nightmares. She also discusses marketing and the releasing of CDs in company with the future of classical music. She uses Andrea Bocelli as an example, mentioning the staggering number of sales of his CD Romanza. This made me think about singers like Charlotte Church and Josh Groban, as well, who were, and possibly still are, musical icons. Bocelli, Church, and Groban have all been played on the radio, and not just the stations specifically for classical music. They managed to break the barrier and venture into the land of pop culture with their crossover repertoire. So it is possible for the music we love to penetrate the everyday lives of the average person. 

She goes on to talk about CD sales in more detail, making some good points, but giving an underlying tone of concern for the future of classical music down the line. She says it is our job as young musicians to speak up. The chapter ends with the following quote: 
"The music itself will never disappear. Beethoven still makes people cheer, Richard Strauss can thrill, and Mozart can even develop young minds. It's our responsibility to learn how to speak to an audience that is less informed about music, to give it a reason to want to come and see us instead of going to the movies. For me and for the rest of the industry, it's going to take hard work and a lot of creative thinking. But then, thinking creatively is our business."

Just some words of inspiration from someone who is living with a huge career in music. I definitely recommend the book and will be sure to include any other nuggets of wisdom from later chapters if/when I have more time to actually read on! 

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