Part of being a 21st century musician is also being forward thinking and critically engaged with the world, both the immediate community and more globally. Classical music has long had an audience problem. Generations of musicians, scholars, critics, and administrators have wrung their hands and asked the questions, “Is there a future for classical music? How do we make sure that people continue to listen?” What the future of the industry looks like is not just a question for the big organizations; it is something young musicians must engage with, too. Three current artistic leaders—Kathryn McDowell of the London Symphony Orchestra, Francesca Zambello of Glimmerglass Festival and Washington National Opera, and Lee Koonce of Gateways Music Festival—will discuss the topic of creative leadership in the arts, while in the final session of MARLI, fellows will join moderator Anne Midgette, formerly the music critic of the Washington Post, and speakers Sasha Cooke, Rob Robbins, Nadia Sirota, Emil Kang, and Conrad Tao to discuss the future of artistic institutions. Other sessions focus on creative programming, innovative uses of technology, and embracing the entrepreneurial mindset.
Classical music also has a representation problem. Part of embracing new generations of listeners has to be ensuring that the music they hear, the composers that write it, the musicians that perform it, and the institutions that present it reflect the diverse world that we all live in. This is a great responsibility that all artists must take to heart, and it is a thread that is woven into the fabric of MARLI. Terrance McKnight of radio station WQXR joined tenor Lawrence Brownlee and composer Paul Moravec to discuss ways of highlighting underrepresented peoples, and violinist, speaker, and social entrepreneur Kelly Hall-Tompkins drove home to the fellows that they can and should make meaningful contributions to their communities even as they work to establish themselves in the field.