The courage to grow

I’ve been finding Michelle Bennett’s recent posts on her blog very thought-provoking. She’s been extremely courageous in revealing her inner challenges as a student and a professional singer, and how these have led her to psychotherapy and inner work alongside her musical life. So often musicians, like any professionals, are extremely hesitant to reveal anything less than perfection. Yet, the reality is that we are all dealing with inner challenges every day. And, as Michelle says:

“There is no doubt that the process of facing one?s self is hugely difficult, especially if, like many artists, you have been hurt badly or are very sensitive. I would wager that most people will never do it because of the enormous effort required and pain of the task. It is an odyssey.”

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Leonard Bernstein lives

When I was studying at the Guildhall in the 80’s, I had the fortune to hear a talk by the late, great Leonard Bernstein. I don’t remember the content now as much as I remember his extraordinary charisma. He was the most wonderful speaker– relaxed, intelligent, warm, provocatively interesting… We all, male and female, fell for for him instantly.

So more recently when I got to hear of the famous “Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts” which ran from the late 1950’s into the 70’s, I was interested to take a look. I borrowed the nine-DVD set from the library, and I’m currently undertaking a Leonard Bernstein marathon.
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Barbican Resurrected

I was so pleased to read an article by Norman Lebrecht reporting the new look Barbican Centre, which apparently has a much improved concert hall and theatre, as well as a more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing environment.

Thanks to a Wikipedia article, I’ve discovered that the original architectural style is known as Brutalist (very apt)! There were also rumours while I was at Guildhall that the architect committed suicide after completing the Centre, but I have so far discovered no proof of that. Bottom line: the place needed help desperately!

From the first time as a teenager that I tried to find the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for a masterclass and arrived over thirty minutes late due to getting hopelessly lost, through my many years as a student and on staff there, I always felt sad that the Centre had such a down-trodden and functionalist air, despite the energy and talent of so many incredible artists.

The reports of the new-look Centre (and the resulting increase in attendance) are so encouraging that I’m actually looking forward to seeing it next time I’m back in England.