The Artist and The Day Job

The Artist and The Day Job

Wherever your attention goes, that is the part of your life that grows larger, gets bigger, and creates momentum.   For almost ten years, I’ve worked as a makeup artist in addition to working on my painting and drawing practice.  I remember graduating from art school and wondering how  I was going to make enough for rent, groceries, etc. and going through a mental list of possible jobs.  While I sold artwork right out of college, it wasn’t enough to sustain a basic comfortable lifestyle.  I had several short lived positions: receptionist, waitress, graphic designer, gallery assistant, art teacher– many of these were consuming enough that when you went home for the evening, you had to either prepare for the next day or continue working on client projects.  I needed something I could leave at the door, that left energy for painting.  One day, I was walking by a makeup store when the idea came to me.  The hundreds of tiny shiny pots, brushes, pretty setups, aesthetic surroundings–was this so different than painting? 

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

For as long as I remember, I have been following my passion for music and have been constantly humbled by the doors that the piano has opened for me. Most recently, I was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 alongside the members of the inaugural National Youth Orchestra of China (NYO-China) during their concert tour of China next month.

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

If you ever happen to find yourself having dinner at one of Yale’s 12 undergraduate dining halls, it probably won’t be long until you overhear a student talking to his or her classmates about some nascent ambition to create the next big thing. Sometimes the conversation is as simple as pointing out a problem that needs to be addressed. Other times, when a speculative product or service is proposed, friends are usually quick to rebut that a better solution already exists.

Creativity Versus Competition

Creativity Versus Competition

When you go to work, make your art or go about your business, there are so many reasons to do a good job. Keeping your word, having a good reputation and being consistent are a few reasons. But even deeper than that, I think there are two main places people come from when they create a project: creativity, or competition.

A National Youth Orchestra of the World  |  属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

The applications for the first National Youth Orchestra of China are in and the selected members of the orchestra have been notified! These one hundred young musicians will soon embark on the adventure of a lifetime as they work with the world’s best musicians, perform in Carnegie Hall and across China, and make history. The quality and diversity of the applicant pool serves as enthusiastic evidence of how rapidly classical music is currently developing in China.

A National Youth Orchestra of the World  |  属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

The current classical-music scene in China is replete with astounding superstar soloists. From National Youth Orchestra of China soloist Yuja Wang and beyond, each year reveals a new crop of incredibly talented instrumentalists from China poised to take center stage. Yet many musicians ultimately find their calling playing among talented peers in an ensemble setting, whether in a professional orchestra or a chamber group. NYO-China aims to inspire in young Chinese musicians a love of ensemble playing.

A National Youth Orchestra of the World  |  属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

In previous blog posts, we discussed the National Youth Orchestra of China’s mission and components. This new summer youth-orchestra project will bring selected Chinese musicians to the United States for two weeks of rehearsals and training before debuting in Carnegie Hall on July 22nd and then embarking on a three-city concert tour of China. Although we do not yet know the names and backgrounds of the students who will make up the orchestra (the application deadline is March 15th), we know those of the many mentors who will work with and inspire these students.

A National Youth Orchestra of the World  |  属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra of the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

On January 30th, the National Youth Orchestra of China (NYO-China) was introduced to readers of the Arch Street Press blog as a “National Youth Orchestra for the World.” This new initiative, an orchestra made up of Chinese citizens ages 14 to 21 and set to debut in Carnegie Hall on July 22nd, will tour the US and China this summer and the rest of the globe in years to come.

A National Youth Orchestra for the World    |    属于世界的青少年交响乐团

A National Youth Orchestra for the World | 属于世界的青少年交响乐团

Music is often said to be the universal language, connecting people across nationalities, backgrounds and ages. All one has to do is bask in the triumph of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 or experience the sublime beauty of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 to appreciate this maxim.

Young Involved Philadelphia

Young Involved Philadelphia

This November at “The Rock School,” a prominent performing arts school in central Philadelphia, an organization called Young Involved Philadelphia will host its 7th Annual State of Young Philly at annual Civic Engagement Fair.