Earlier in the week, graduating student Luke Rackers and his lovely wife gave a piano, trumpet and spoken word performance for his graduating presentation, The Art of Relationships: Composing Sound, Silence, and Inbetween. It was a beautiful and lyrical performance and at the beginning he quoted John Luther Adams, a composer whose music is inspired by nature.

This beautiful quote is from his book Winter Music: Composing the North – and I think speaks to all artists

Ultimately though, the best thing artist can do is create art: to compose, to pain, to write, to dance, to sing. Art is our first obligation to ourselves and our children, our communities and our world. Art is our work. An essential part of that work is to see new visions and to give voice to truths, both new and old.

Art is not self-indulgence. It is not an aesthetic or an
intellectual p
ursuit. Art is a spiritual aspiration and discipline. It is an act of faith. In the midst of darkness that seems to be descending all around us, art is a vital testament to the best qualities of the human spirit. As it has throughout history, art expresses our belief that there will be a future for humanity. It gives voice and substance to hope. Our courage for the present and our hope for the future lie in that place in the human spirit that finds solace and renewal in art.

Art embraces beauty. But beauty is not the subject of art, it’s merely a by-product. The object of art is truth. That which is true is that which is whole. In a time when human consciousness has become dangerously fragmented, art helps us recover wholeness. In a world devoted to material wealth, art connects us to the qualitative and the nonmaterial. In a world addicted to consumption and power, art celebrates emptiness and surrender. In a world accelerating to greater and greater speed, art reminds us of the timeless….

Politics is fast. By definition it is public. Art is slow. And it often begins in solitude. In order to give our best gifts to the world artists must sometimes leave the world behind, a least for a little while.

Adams, John L. Winter Music: Composing the North. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press, 2004. Print. (180-181)

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