In 2007 I launched a magazine called The Journal of a Musician, the premise of which was to demystify classical music for fans as well as for all curious readers. I was interested in revealing the ins and outs of being a classical musician on stage and in life, using myself as an example along with many stories and interviews I collected or commissioned from around the world. As the title indicated, the magazine was not actually about music, but rather about how a musician perceived and interacted with the world. I wanted readers to connect to classical music through stories of emotion and humanity, to understand this art form as just another color in the palette of human expression, rather than as a secret society. Although the magazine does not exist anymore, its concept has permeated my approach to classical music ever since.
The presentation of classical music in our times, as a whole, finds itself mostly disconnected from contemporary concerns, which among other issues, makes it difficult to generate new audiences. I think this is in large part because, despite music’s high emotional content, it is typically presented as a historical artifact, the way art is in a museum: laid out in a cool and controlled environment. This is as far away as it can get from the emotional space that generates works of art in the first place. My time as a concert pianist, as a magazine editor, and as artistic director of the International Beethoven Project, has given me unique insights into the world of classical music and the challenges of keeping it alive and exciting for each new generation.
I call myself a cultural activist because I wholeheartedly believe the status quo must be shaken for the sake of art’s continued relevance and impact. Unfortunately and perhaps inadvertently, we have completely anesthetized the power of classical music in the process of institutionalizing it.
If we want to feel its full impact, a revolution is needed.
My goal is to explore and promote the idea that classical musicians themselves, with the help of other artists and forward-thinking audiences, can overcome the isolationist and cookie-cutter tendencies of the current operating system of arts institutions, in order to redefine classical music for the 21st century.
To do my part, I will express myself in writing, in podcasts, and in videos, and I will continue to put into practice my ideals as a working musician and artistic director. There is a lot on the way.
I hope you will stay tuned and support my work by following me on social media (www.facebook.com/lepauw | www.twitter.com/georgelepauw | www.instagram.com/georgelepauw) and by contributing to my Patreon page (www.patreon.com/georgelepauw).
You can also learn more about me on my website: www.georgelepauw.com.
Thank you for reading!