Sean Hickey: “Music, Consumption, Activism, and our Shared Humanity”

Sean Hickey got into classical music just like every one else from Generation X: “with an electric guitar, a Peavey amp, and a stack of Van Halen records, the early ones of course.” Just joking; some from his generation are much more influenced by later Van Halen.) Today, his open-minded and broad musical perspective informs not only his work as a professional composer, it also helps his decision-making as Senior Vice-President, Sales and Business Development, of Naxos of America – the largest distributor of recorded classical music in the world. During his weekly business travels from his New York City office to the music capitals of the world, Sean always keeps one question at the forefront of his mind: how might the next generation consume music and how might he be able to help make their bright future just a bit more present?

Brian Lindgren: “Classically Electronic”

What exactly is “electronic music” and can it intersect with the Western “classical music” tradition? Brian Lindgren will tell us the whole story. He started his musical journey with classical music and eventually became a professional violist. Then, abruptly, his career took a radical turn and he decided to become a professional in “electronic music.” Today, Brian lives and works in New York City where he owns a successful music production company, the music of which is streamed by millions and the clients of which include not only legendary rappers, but also Fortune 500 companies. Welcome, Brian!

XXI. Internationale Begegnung der Musik

Today, it may be hard to believe, but, only forty years ago, when the internationally-celebrated Spanish piano virtuoso Maria Luisa Cantos arrived in Switzerland – a polity generally understood as straddling Western and Central European cultures – few, if any, musicians had ever heard Spanish classical music.  At that time, though already considered an authority on German and French piano music (after graduating from the Conservatoire of Barcelona when she was sixteen years old, she had the extraordinary privilege of studying those repertoires in depth at both Paris and Vienna), Cantos’ art took a diplomatic turn: the promotion of Spanish and Swiss music and culture became her focus.  To that end, she began collecting innumerous scores by Spanish composers, all of which were unavailable in Switzerland (sorry International Music Score Library Project [IMSLP], Maria Luisa beat you to it), and taught them to aspiring and professional pianists through rigorous, inclusive pedagogical activities.  (Since 2007, her collection resides at the Institute for Musicology at the University of Zurich.)  On December 5thStiftung Musica Española Schweiz, the umbrella organization representing Cantos’ international diplomacy, will welcome participants from all over the world to the XXI. Internationale Begegnung der Musik – the yearly apogee of the Foundation’s work – at their uniquely elegant headquarters at Bözberg.  Don’t happen to be in Switzerland on December 5th? There’s good news: UR-Music & Arts, the specialists in live/virtual events, will be glad to welcome you in to the party.  

Prof. Indre Viskontas: Music and the Mind

”Many of us think music exists in the ether – while it defies definition, we know when we hear it. But the truth is that we only hear it when we know it. Music isn’t music until our minds made it so. Sound can be noise in one context but music in another.” Opera Singer and PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, Indre Viskontas offers us her unique perspective on real music making. No, you don’t need to be a doctor of music, but you do need to take your own feelings seriously. Welcome to the UR-Music & Arts community, Professor Viskontas!

Lino Rivera: Music & Human Rights

”Human rights”, you say? That sounds horribly out of fashion; “human wrongs” is much more actual. Be that as it may, years ago, the Young Romantics (Liszt, Chopin, Wagner and co.) were extremely influenced by Goethe and particularly, his novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. As that fun-sounding title implies, Werther was a human who wasn’t exactly righted. More often than not, we conceive of what is right based on our experiences with what is wrong, right? Pianist and professor Lino Rivera, born and raised in the Philippines, takes inspiration from the ideas of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Lino will introduce himself, play musical excerpts, and discuss his work at the School of Liberal Arts at the Lasallian and catholic Saint Mary’s College of California.