Blair Tindall ~ Mozart in the Jungle


just finished reading Blair Tindall‘s devastating memoir of her life as a freelance oboist in NYC, Mozart in the Jungle. she’s spot-on in portraying the miserable hamster-wheel lives of her colleagues, but lost importantly, Blair slips in an essential history of arts funding in America, in particular the Ford Foundation-led largesse of the 60’s, which, while i am eternally grateful for the millions Gunther Schuller was able to extract from them to save my alma mater, NEC, the larger effect was to balloon the dangerous sense of entitlement through to our own troubled fiscal times, particular though not exclusive to the executive offices of our large musical institutions.
this is seductively leavened with lots of great tidbits of the seemingly oxymoronic subititle of the book “Sex, Drugs and Classical Music”, including settings from my own past (Monadnock, St. Luke’s, Hudson Valley, NY Phil, the Yupper West Side, et al).
as important is i felt it was in reminding me just how much i don’t miss life among the NYC music racketeers, it’s a much more important and cautionary reminder to our coming generations of musicians that there is not an easy or readily-paved road to a life and living in music. i’m reminded of our From the Top alums, who’ve embraced instinctively, Blair’s end strategy: to cultivate and search for those passions of your own, both within and without music, in order to sculpt a life and artistic expression that both fulfills you as an artist and human being, but makes your community all the richer for it.
required reading.
i should also point out to parties who will no doubt find it interesting and exciting that Blair’s book is now the basis of a TV series! best of luck to her new enterprise, though how it will be successful without the Luke-sters running a mobile meth lab is beyond my comprehension.



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