My new book, What’s Next? Creativity in the Age of Entertainment, is an exploration of our creative environment today viewed through the lens of my multi-faceted career. I focus on creativity as the background of the arts, innovation and culture, and the inspiration it provides throughout our society. The challenges I’ve observed in our cultural and work environments —confused definitions, the disappearance of arts education and media coverage, misguided and struggling arts organizations, poor education for work and life skills —are all a result of living in the Age of Entertainment.
Many friends and colleagues have encouraged me to write more in detail about how ideas originate, develop, and are finally realized. In my book and previous blogs, I have discussed the building blocks of creativity, especially inspiration, education, and the skills to bring one’s ideas to fruition. This blog is the first installment of a new series that will demonstrate idea development through my experiences as musician, administrator, educator and cultural entrepreneur.
My last blog spoke about the seed of creative ideas — inspiration. Something must inspire us in order to have the urge to create. Early childhood exposure builds interest and ultimately the direction of our life.
With the focus recently on the 50th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon, I am reminded of the inspiration provided by President Kennedy, whose support of the space program made the landing possible. His inspirational message has never been forgotten.
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, . . .”
Creativity depends on inspiration — from teachers, leaders, life experiences, and especially the arts.
As my husband and I complete our tenth visit to Hanoi in the past twelve years, we are still finding new nooks and crannies everywhere we go in this fascinating city. We enjoy our time here as artistic advisors to the Hanoi New Music Ensemble, and we are especially proud of the ensemble’s recent concert performed for almost 1,000 attendees!
In addition to our musical activity, our wonderful Vietnamese friends make certain that we experience their favorite places — endless street stalls, restaurants and cafes. No matter how many times we return, we make new discoveries everywhere. What is difficult for most visitors is the opportunity to enjoy local places because many of these special places are located in small alleyways that connect the beautiful tree-lined boulevards.
One of the joys of travel is meeting new people, especially when we share friends in common. Before arriving in Vietnam to begin our 2019 concerts with the Hanoi New Music Ensemble, my husband Jeff and I decided to visit Singapore and Thailand to meet some of their composers and contemporary music leaders. I am pleased to report that creativity in Asian contemporary music is thriving and exciting.
With introductions from our Vietnamese colleagues, Facebook and emails facilitated quick connections. Luckily musicians love to eat, so our conversations also included local food as well as introductions to music and cultural institutions.
Peranakan? I was not familiar with this ethnic community and was immediately curious to learn more about this unique culture on display in Singapore and Malaysia. Centuries of intermarriage between Malay and Chinese led to a delicious cuisine, unique dress, and distinctive architecture. Please place the accent on the second syllable of Peranakan!
As my husband and I travel in Southeast Asia prior to our next installment as Artistic Advisors to the Hanoi New Music Ensemble, we are meeting composers and musicians throughout the area. We began our current trip in a part of the world that became central to the world economy many centuries ago.