A Roman encounter

It began with a fascination with Yo-Yo Ma when I first watched him perform on YouTube and after downloading a couple of tracks. His music is spellbinding, and his talent unparalleled. It's only with these kinds of people that I violate the "show don't tell" good writing mantra. After all, I only know a little about music, and the little I know can't even be put to words many times.


Cellist Joshua Roman. Photo by Jeremy Sawatzky.
Then there's this guy. Joshua Roman. An international cellist in his 20s, with a style and flexibility rare for someone his age. I saw him again play recently on TED with Robert Gupta on the violin, and the music hit me many times over as relatively untapped by larger audiences obsessed with the pop scene. I guess, this article explains my sentiments, but I wonder how much more frustrated genuinely talented artists can be about the business and the industry that see culture mainly for its economic promise.

Roman himself spells it out rather casually:
I wonder sometimes if two of those practice hours every week back in (the conservatory) could have been more useful spent at the nearby cafeteria eavesdropping on the the MBA students. Or better yet, in an actual business class!
But don't accuse me of another pessimistic post just yet, 'cause you see, maybe there's always something to light up the dark corners of the world. And the Internet can be another light on culture, with qualifications of course, by providing roads and connections between different communities and users who can collaborate to promote that very culture. Joshua Roman observed one such phenomenon:
The YouTube Symphony brought attention to the center of the Classical Music Pyramid by honoring the tradition of classical music performance and pioneering a new form of musical community through one of today’s most powerful tools for sharing: the internet.
And he continued:
 Open source sharing, rather than diluting, can even strengthen skills by exposing vulnerabilities, which brings an honesty to musical communication.
Perhaps the "cult of the amateur" does have its benefits. But maybe I've also been repeating myself many times over along these lines since the post "Yes to design democracy." #

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