The fellows participated in the first of six roundtable discussions last night. Though the dialogue evolved organically, without prompting or overture, Richard Dare's recent Huffington post column acted as the foundational reading for the evening's discussion. In general, we rejected Dare's "thesis," in that his writing conflates lamentations about the failure of art and frustrations with broader social problems. Additionally, the fellows found his prose to be an example of sensationalism, further weakened by narrow-minded and under-informed ideas.
Several other themes developed throughout the course of the evening, such as, the social relevance of the musical arts, particularly the role of the orchestra and the function of the modern composer; and the relationship between the musical marketplace and music education––of both students (i.e. problems with a curriculum that perpetuates the glory and necessity of winning an orchestral job) and the audience (i.e. the need for outreach programs).
We look forward to several more energizing discussions!