Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
In light of our current situation, with COVID completely disrupting the ways of our orchestral world, I would like to come at the topic of Music and Climate from a slightly different angle and call it Orchestral Music and Social Change and to put forward this question: how can a symphonic orchestra, that is so heavily rooted in our cultural heritage, mostly performing repertoire and music from the past, be relevant and deal with current issues of today.
To answer this I would like to talk about how we at the NAC Orchestra decided to shift our focus entirely. How we are now using this time of disruption to explore what the future holds for our art form, both in terms of the music we perform, who we choose as our artistic partners and how we use the digital medium to reach our audience and expand the experience. We have already shown this in our first NACO Live concert, which featured works by two women composers, three composers of colour and two young Canadian soloists from BIPOC communities, with a logged in audience of 2000 people and an overwhelming positive response and praise.
Like COVID, the climate crisis is threatening to disturb our ways of living. The climate crisis has become a topic that artists are working with in their creations. It is almost like a new field within the arts. This is understandable as the arts function like our digestion system. First we need the science to bring us the facts and then the arts take over and use them to inspire their art, music and stories so that we can internalize the facts and understand on an emotional level. Not until this happens can we truly expect any real change. This is exactly why the arts, and artists are so important to our societies. This is also why it is my firm belief that scientists and artists should work much more closely together, particularly now, when we need to deliver the urgent message of change. We hope that the Ideas of North festival will become this meeting point of music and science and that it will help us digest and internalize what is actually happening, and hopefully help us in making the important change we need for the future of the planet. In my talk I will give some interesting examples of the power of music and arts to deliver this message.