What Does the Future Hold?

Today I had to make a difficult decision. I was recently invited to work in Russia at the request of a valued promoter. Due to the current political climate between Russia and Ukraine, I felt I had to decline. I’m left wondering what the future holds for the arts on an international stage.

Looking at our twenty-first century world, I can’t help feeling the arts are losing ground, and the industry I work in is reaching a point where it needs redefinition. This is a task that no one person can undertake alone – this is something we need to look at collectively on a global scale.

After deciding not to go to Russia, I found myself thinking about what else is going on the world and how the arts are coping across the globe. I’ve worked in the music industry for 30 years– and the landscape is changing faster than it ever has before. I can’t help thinking about what is happening in America, where top-grade orchestras, opera companies and other performing arts organizations are being forced to take drastic measures just to keep their heads above water. Some, regrettably, have already gone under.

Do we really want to live in a world where the arts are defined by politics? I don’t. But then again, how much can one person do?

I was taught that change starts with one single step, and that maybe – just maybe – if you succeed, people might follow. Even though it pains me to decline the offer from Russia, I’m left wondering whether we can stop politics defining artistic activity. Ultimately we’re on the brink of losing the spirit of music, something we love for its universal reach. Are we ready to temper that reach for the sake of unrelated political wrangling?

I believe music is a social cohesive that binds people from all cultures all over the world. What does our future hold? Surely we want to maintain this priceless means of shared expression? But how do we ensure that process of sharing lives-on for future generations? I’m not sure I can even begin to answer this question alone.

Image: Jean-Francois Phillips (licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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