On the flight to London last week, Air New Zealand had loaded up a bunch of James Bond movies on the monitors in our seats. An appropriate gesture, I think, to get us in the mood for our final destination. Naturally, I got sucked in. I watched 007 besting bad guys all the way from Los Angeles, over Central Canada, past Greenland and Iceland, and into Her Majesty’s airspace.
In the arts world, if you want something shaken, not stirred, bring in Peter Sellars. That’s just what the LA Phil did for the world’s music educators during the recent symposium “Future Play: Music Systems in the 21st Century” at the Barbican Centre. Sellars is a natural pick for an orchestra which purports to be–and by all accounts is succeeding at being–a 21st Century Orchestra. (Not to mention, of course, his decades-long relationship with the LA Phil.)
The LA Phil’s President and CEO, Deborah Borda, has long recognized that the days of an orchestra existing solely to play music by dead white guys are over. An orchestra–any arts organization, really–must be a vibrant, relevant member of a community as that community exists in the present.
Enter Peter Sellars, who stood in front of a room full of people who work for arts organizations and told them, “Arts organizations are my favorite fascist structures.”