Why do I record American oboe music? Well, I like to play it. And people tell me they like hearing it, so why not record it? Who else is going to do it?
I love playing the classic oboe repertoire, but I also love working with living composers. Our contemporaries are writing music reflective of current events, and foretelling the future. Composers are some of the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. At some point each of us faces the questions: what am I going to do with my life? what will give my life meaning? how do I define myself? Composers confront these questions, like the rest of us, but instead of answering that they will pursue commerce, or war, or the myriad of other choices the world offers, the composer chooses to dedicate a life to something completely ephemeral and mysterious–the creative spirit. How great is that?
The results of that dedication to the mystery of human invention and inspiration are sometimes a horrible failure, or sometimes, just boring. But other times, many times, things work out in a spectacular manner. Contemporary composers find a way to express something about the world around us that can’t be expressed in any other way, and to reach deep into the soul. And we feel their passion, heart to heart.
However, our contemporary composers are at the performer’s mercy. Unless new works get performed, they are like the proverbial tree falling in the forest. So I always encourage my fellow performers to share the joy of this new creation, this fresh perspective on the human condition, this new music. And for everyone else– no matter what you’ve chosen to devote yourself to: banking, politics, medicine, family, religion, education, the military, whatever– just take time to listen.
Click the link above to hear “When You Come into a Room,” the first movement of David Ward-Steinman’s “Summer Suite.”