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The purpose of music

Dear all,

It’s has been a ridiculously long time since my last post. A year, more or less.

I have been wanting to write again for so long, but it has been such an exhaustingly exciting year, so full of changes and new experiences, that I never found the time nor the energy to do it.

So I’ll tell you all about the ups and downs of total life change, of being on the road, of playing so much music you can’t sleep at night without hearing it in your head. But in another post, some other day.

Because right now, I have something to tell you that is more important than my new life. It’s more important than a lot of things.

Actually, it might even be the most important thing, not only to us musicians, but also to everyone.

It’s about the purpose of music. It’s about the purpose of what you have been doing, day after day, week after week, year after year, for your whole life.

Yesterday, I went to a concert. Pretty normal and usual for a musician, you’ll tell me.

Well, that’s where the normalcy of the evening stopped. The concert was a « surprise concert », given by the SWR Symphonieorchester (my new orchestra) and its new Chief Conductor Teodor Currentzis.

The public had no idea what was in the program, the concert began in the dark, there were so many new and different things it would be too long to talk about them.

And the music!

The orchestra was having such a blast on stage, you could feel it from the audience. I was almost jumping on my chair.

Anyway, that was incredible, and one of the best concerts I ever went to. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I need to talk about- because it kept me awake thinking and I had to share it- is what happened after the concert.

The whole orchestra stayed for a drink, given in honor of the new season and new conductor. And of course, as is customary, Teodor Currentzis gave a speech.

It was mind blowing.

I remember almost word for word what he said, and it’s the next part of this post.

Don’t read it too quickly. I left blank spaces so you have the time, just as we did yesterday, to think about what he said. I hope it will be as eye-opening for you as it was for me. 


"Friends, The words would be useless to say thank you. But it’s also necessary to say thank you. Tonight, I don’t have a speech for you. Rather, I’ll ask questions. First question is, what is the purpose of music ? What is the purpose of what we devoted half or more of our lives to ?

Second question is, what is freedom ?

If you had to explain what freedom is to a child, how would you do it? Wouldn’t you maybe try to explain it first by telling about the contrary, and describing what jail is ?

Which brings us to my next question : why do we talk about freedom when we are not in jail?

Another question : is it possible to play, to reproduce  music, without energy ? The answer is yes, obviously, we can. We go to Dienst (rehearsal), we play again and again the same pieces, and sometimes without really wanting to and without passion. So it’s possible. But why?

Why - when we spent half or more of our lives on it, practicing, going to auditions, working on ourselves day after day- why wouldn’t we then, when we actually play music, not be there ?

Isn’t it hideous to dedicate all of our lives to something, only for then not to be completely and fully there ?

It would be exactly as if you spared money all of your life to go on an amazing vacation. Exactly as if you spent this money booking the holidays of your dreams, and then, on the morning of the trip of your life... you missed the train. 

Well, I don’t know about you, friends. But I know I want to wake up and take that train."


It made me think long and hard about my own approach to music and practicing.

And about freedom, of course. About a lot of other things. I found his speech so incredible, I had to share it with you.

What about you, do you want to wake up and take the train ?


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