Knight Project Blogpost II – Let Me Count the Ways

Picture of Rick Robinson with his bass standing before Lincoln Center Plaza

Rick Robinson at Lincoln Center NYC

I am in New York City for annual booking conferences with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and Chamber Music America (CMA). APAP is the largest such conference in North America with all kinds of artists like dance companies, pop and art musicians, circus performers, etc., while CMA, starting Thursday, is much more manageable, by focusing specifically on classical and jazz. At APAP there are TOO MANY workshops in the hotel, showcases of artists all over Manhattan and venue managers (presenters), artist managers (agents) and artists (artists) than one can possibly meet in 4.7 days. I’m trying to book my two touring ensembles CutTime Players and CutTime Simfonica for concerts and residencies.

APAP is as exciting as it is frustrating, because you have to give up something to choose what seems most important at any given time. Should I attend the showcase I’d most like to see or the one where I might meet more potential presenters of my work? (Most often, they are the same.) Should I go to the workshop on marketing or the one on diversity or engaging new audiences? Often, I will split my time between two if they are close together.

So what does this have to do with my project with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation? Well, beside the fact that I can report we are 1/3 to goal raising matching funds of $30,000, there are three reasons this project is refreshing news for the nearly one hundred conference attendees I’ve managed to tell so far.

1.) The vast majority have never imagined that anyone or any organization could earn revenue playing classical in bars, clubs and restaurants.

2.) Most have never heard of Classical Revolution (.org), the grassroots movement which was started in San Francisco in 2006 by violist Charith Premawardhana.

3.) None of them thought it was possible to perform actual, credible, whole symphonic masterpieces with 8 performers in a club setting.

4.) Most of them also had not realized the opportunities recent smoking laws created to present classical music in casual club settings.

OK, so that’s FOUR. I can’t wait to see what happens when 1.) my new friends visit and share the good news found at  and 2.) we actually start building a fan-base for classical in Detroit bars. I predict THREE things will happen:

1.) They will discover in CutTime® compositions that tonality and classical counterpoint can actually alternate powerfully with urban pop grooves.

2.) This music and casual presentation styles can be quite effective at building attention spans and appetite for the fun, wisdom and catharsis of great symphonies.

3.) There are so many ways to create more deep meaning with analogies, interactions, activities, interviews and surprise sit-ins.

4.) Classical music can express European-ness or human-ness simply depending on our choice of FILTER.

OK, so that was FOUR again. Sorry… but this mission is full of surprises and I’m realizing more simply by telling interested arts professionals about it. I can’t wait to see what will happen when YOU SHARE this good news with friends and family! Donate online HERE!

About mrcuttime

Classical music bassist turned pioneering arranger-composer-conductor while a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Resigned from DSO in 2012 to continue growing, by connecting new audiences to symphonic music with two touring CutTime® ensembles, a hundred published symphonic reductions, his own award-winning romantic compositions, and a revolutionary club classical series.
This entry was posted in audience development, Classical Revolution, community engagement, Knight Foundation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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