Thoughts on disruption

It’s been a very big week for SoCal arts, with both happy and sad news aplenty. But we’re used to some shaking, right?

The Colburn School announced a mammoth $350 million expansion with the help of some architect named Frank Gehry (oh yeah, he’s that guy who likes silver buildings…).

Long Beach Opera canceled their new production of Stockhausen’s ‘STIMMUNG’ because their director walked out five days before opening. (That’s definitely more complicated than it sounds. Read more here.)

The live premiere of Patrick Cassidy‘s The Mass takes place in LA tomorrow night, as part of the Golden Thread concert series that is reimagining the concert with spiritual elements and reformatting.

What do all these things have in common? Disruption. It’s a word that tech startups and VC-ers love to throw around, as untold billions can be made from changing the world. But disruption in the name of artistic progress can be more complex, as (hopefully) it has a higher purpose than mere commercial success. Colburn is doing well, and has grown far beyond what many had dreamed when they opened their Grand Avenue doors in 1998. They need more space, and this sort of high-profile architectural project will elevate the school’s status, which helps their students and faculty. LBO has been struggling with the social and organizational disruption of necessary emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and while the loss of this production is heartbreaking, the struggle is important on all sides. We hope that the artists can find new work and that the organization can address the issues that all orgs are currently facing, and grow into a new norm. Resonance Collective, the creators of the Golden Thread series, are forging ahead with new ideas for presenting music while still rooted in treasured rituals, both sacred and musical. It could tweak the way you think about what a concert is.

This all brings us back to the core of why music and art are so important, in our lives and in the world: they speak to deeper things than entertainment and distraction. Whether or not you’re part of the disruption, be sure you’re ready to get shaken up. If you’re doing the same thing you always have, it’s time to take a deep dive into why that is. The world is changing, and all of the disruptions above, though quite different from one another, will affect the lives of many people. Traffic, class schedules and more will be messed up downtown. Artists and admins are weathering the storms of social change. Audiences will experience things in new ways, and presenters will see new models for doing business. Hopefully we’ll all come out of all of the massive change currently taking place in the arts feeling stronger, more open, more alert, and just… better.


Featured photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash

Originally published as part of Next7 — Vocal events thru 3/24/22

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