Friday, January 10, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith © Frank J. Lanza, 2013
Powell Artist Joshua Smith was appointed Principal Flute of The Cleveland Orchestra by Maestro Christoph von Dohnányi in 1990 -- when Smith was just 20 years old.  He has performed as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician across the country and around the globe.  His commitment to chamber music -- and desire to engage new audiences -- led him to develop Ensemble HD along with five Cleveland Orchestra colleagues.  The group's first album, Live at the Happy Dog, was named Best Chamber Music Recording of 2013 by Voix des Arts.

Smith also has a terrific website and blog -- titled "Soloflute?Joshua Smith on playing with love."  Smith posted an interview with one of his former CIM (Cleveland Institute of Music) students, Madeline Lucas.  The interview is in three parts, and we were particularly inspired by one of his responses in Part Three: Teaching and Artistry:

ML: If a student isn't playing expressively, or doesn't seem to be really engaged, how do you motivate her?

JS: Well, you can't really make someone be more musical. But you can, I hope, encourage the possibility by demonstrating that it's possible to be interesting, possible to be committed, and that it's actually more fun to be so. What can irritate me the most when listening to musicians who are recognized for what they do is the realization that there is a lack of personal investment. What this whole thing is about is communication, communicating with passion and intensity, communicating creatively and beautifully. I mean beautifully in a broad sense, here, not that it always has to be pretty. That it certainly always has to be artistically driven. When I begin to sense that someone is not taking the risk to go for that kind of expression, I get frustrated. I share that with students. But, how to help them get better? Everyone is creative. Some people need to be invited to become vulnerable, encouraged to take risks, applauded when they say something in an interesting way. Sometimes, it's a matter of inviting someone to discover something he hadn't considered before, something that can open doors.

Click here to read the full interview on Joshua Smith's blog.

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