“The language in music is not so specific,” said Teddy Abrams, music director of the Louisville Orchestra, from the stage of The Brown Theatre. “If we’re all hearing it the same way, we all have the same musical language. But when I say, ‘What does that mean?’ — that’s where it gets interesting.”
Abrams was the December guest speaker for Creative Mornings, a monthly series that draws hundreds of creative professionals, collaborators and entrepreneurs.
This month closed the second year of Creative Mornings Louisville, the 101st chapter city in a global movement. Creative Mornings Louisville started out small, hosted in venues like The Pointe, but now it is filling up rooms at The Henry Clay and The Brown Theatre, and its free tickets are claimed in an average of 10 minutes each month. (Lexington will open its own chapter at the beginning of 2017.)
The crowd was diverse, full not only of artists and businesspeople with general interest in Abrams and Creative Mornings, but also of those hiring and for hire. CM’s user profiles build in a “for hire” feature that lets other users know what skills you have to offer — another way it tries to encourage and facilitate collaboration.
“I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t been to a Louisville Orchestra performance since Teddy took over, but I plan on it now,” said Michael Moeller, a digital marketing student and host of the Building Breweries podcast. “Which is to say, CM Lou is accomplishing its mission by making young professionals (and people in general) hungry for creativity and the arts.” This month was Moeller’s third time attending Creative Mornings.
Louisville CM host Ben Terry said the lecture series was introduced to Louisville as a way to give residents the resources and inspiration that others find in many big-city conferences, but without the price tag.
“How do we put people on a platform, who can share their story and share their success — and we can learn from that at a rate that’s acceptable for everyone. There’s nothing more acceptable than free,” Terry said of Creative Mornings’ inspiration.
For those who attend the monthly gatherings, Terry said, the benefits are many: “They can be inspired, they can be challenged and they can meet other people in their area, hopefully to raise our city to be better. We feel the creative class, the culture makers, they’re the ones that make our city better. Some of you are creating beautiful art and some of you are tackling our city’s biggest problems.”
The lectures center on a global theme each month — one word that can be interpreted in many ways based on the speaker or the place. December’s theme was “Sound,” a fitting topic for Abrams, 29, one of the country’s youngest directors to lead a major city orchestra (who just renewed his contract with the Louisville Orchestra for another three years).
Abrams’ talk centered around the interpretation of music and its significance today. “We almost use music as a score, a movie score, in our lives,” he said. “We’re a generation of human beings who have this value of noise and music.”
“My life as a musician is thinking about how music really works,” he explained, touching on how the interpretation of music can vary from person to person, place to place. And that the most important part of music is the relationship formed between the sound and the person listening.
“If we do it right, and we play this music in a spectacular way and we come up with the most creative, interesting programs that we can — maybe we have a shot at breaking down these unfortunate walls that we put up in society and giving you all an opportunity for a genuine connection with each other,” Abrams said in closing.
“I believe that that makes us stronger, it makes Louisville stronger, it makes our community far stronger. And there just aren’t enough opportunities for that to happen in a genuine, magical and open way. That’s pretty much the whole point of music, the whole point of the orchestra.”
On the orchestra? “I do recommend coming to see it,” he said, with a laugh. “We work so hard to come up with any program that anyone who thinks they’re not going to like it is going to walk away saying, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t realize that’s what they’re actually doing there.’”