What I Learned from Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the Oregon Symphony
A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of seeing the Oregon Symphony play at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall. This concert featured a guest violinist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. I’m not exactly a cultural cretin, but I wasn’t exactly leaping for joy at the opportunity to go. I went because my girlfriend (who obviously has much better taste than I do) got tickets and asked me to go. I knew I’d enjoy it. But I didn’t realize I would enjoy it so much.
The concert was a blast. It was full of energy, emotional twists and turns, and such excellent artistry, such exquisite noise, that I left the concert hall physically exhausted and emotionally exalted.
For those of you in the know, you probably aren’t surprised by this. But, as someone who’s grown up on blockbuster movies and intense action games, the fact that a bunch of musicians, in particular one musician, could move me so powerfully was a real eye opener.
You’d probably like to see what I’m talking about. Well, I couldn’t take any photos or video of the event, but I did find a video that’s similar, featuring the soloist that was so impressive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTU8Q0paSzk (Embedded at the bottom of this post) – Nadja’s the one on the left. She’s such a proficient artist, she makes it seem simple. She’s almost nonchalant, dancing with her instrument, just whipping out whirling highs and lows, tugging at the strings of the listener’s soul. The rest of the Oregon Symphony were extremely impressive, and I plan to see lots more of them, but Nadja really shone.
In fact, I would say that that concert was more significant, more emotionally satisfying, than any movie I can remember seeing. Even the blockiest of blockbusters, with millions of dollars and years of production time, are reduced to “meh” when compared to one woman and one violin.
This concert reinforced my opinion that entertainment and meaning don’t have to come from expensive production values or mind-boggling visuals. A great performance by one player can be so impressive that it will bring the audience to their feet time and again, even move them to tears. That’s the kind of performance we strive for in the work we do. Our team is relatively small, but when we’re really in our stride and we’re making the very most of the resources we have, even a small team can produce work that’s chock full of the flavorful emotions we so enjoy: surprise, humor, nostalgia, camaraderie, even exaltation.
Thank you Nadja, for reminding me of the kind of beauty each individual is capable of.