Practice, practice, practice
With regard to all the media coverage of the New York Philharmonic’s North Korean concert Ã¢â‚¬â€ which PBS airs locally on WNET-Channel 13 at 8 tonight Ã¢â‚¬â€ it seems that society doesn’t care about culture, until the moment it realizes it can show off with it.
It reminds of an incident in a book on physicist Marie Curie that I read as a child: Whenever the Russian inspectors came to her Polish school, the teachers would call on her, as she was the only one in her class who spoke flawless Russian. She was the token brainiac.
Now the Philharmonic has blazed a trail in a remote, despairing place for all that’s great about America and New York in particular. Well, good for the Phil and good for the North Koreans: They’re an aesthetic people who deserve more beauty in their lives. And good if it helps pave the way for diplomacy. I just hope the Powers That Be realize that you don’t learn to play Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” one of the works on the bill, overnight. It takes talent, training, technique and a certain temperament to be an artist. And one more “T”: It takes time.
Time also means money. Perhaps our government could invest more of both in the arts, so that in the future when we want to blaze a cultural trail, we’ll be able to do so as breezily as the Phil plays the Overture to Bernstein’s “Candide.”