FSI’s First Fruits: Sir Roger’s New Book

We are really very excited to be holding in our hands the first book that represents the fruit of our labors. Sir Roger’s newest volume, published by Bloomsbury, is called Music as an Art and is born not only of his long and studied thought on the subject – which of course made Sir Roger our first choice for a fellow of the Future Symphony Institute – but also of his inspiration and collaboration with FSI, for which we are grateful to be generously acknowledged in the author’s introduction.

It is an important book and one we’ve long argued for because it brings to the consideration of musical matters the indispensable examination of philosophy. (If you don’t already know why that’s the starting point for us, read this.) And it does so in Sir Roger’s inimitable way, which is exceedingly readable. Those who’ve had the pleasure of attending his lectures already know that his philosophical discourse has the agreeable intimacy of a fireside chat, but it’s no less powerful for that fact. Sir Roger’s careful and gentle candor go right to the heart of the matter.

Bloomsbury Press describes the book thus:

Music as an Art begins by examining music through a philosophical lens, engaging in discussions about tonality, music and the moral life, music and cognitive science and German idealism, as well as recalling the author’s struggle to encourage his students to distinguish the qualities of good music. Scruton then explains – via erudite chapters on Schubert, Britten, Rameau, opera and film – how we can develop greater judgement in music, recognising both good taste and bad, establishing musical values, as well as musical pleasures.

As Scruton argues in this book, in earlier times, our musical culture had secure foundations in the church, the concert hall and the home; in the ceremonies and celebrations of ordinary life, religion and manners. Yet we no longer live in that world. Fewer people now play instruments and music is, for many, a form of largely solitary enjoyment. As he shows in Music as an Art, we live at a critical time for classical music, and this book is an important contribution to the debate, of which we stand in need, concerning the place of music in Western civilization.

We hope you will take the time to read Sir Roger’s book and that you will share it with others. We hope too that you will consider making your purchase through Amazon Smile and helping us out a little bit in the process.

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New Urbanist Heavyweight Dhiru Thadani Joins FSI Board

It is our great pleasure to announce that Dhiru Thadani has accepted our invitation to join the board of our fledgling Institute. But the truth is that he has been a hard-hitting advocate and champion of our work – as well as an inspiration and our generous teacher – for many years now.

We look forward to bringing you his eye-opening presentation from our Seaside Symposium just as soon as we have finished editing the film and preparing the transcript. He will make you look at the way we situate our concert halls in our communities – or lack of them – in a way that will just about blow your mind. At the very least, he will definitely blow the cobwebs out of it!

For those of you unfamiliar with his work, we encourage you to look around. Here’s a little incentive:

Dhiru A. Thadani is an architect and urbanist. As a design principal and partner, he has completed projects the world over. Thadani was born to the boisterous urbanism of Bombay, India, and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1972 to attend The Catholic University of America, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture. During his forty years in Washington, he has taught, practiced, and worked to place architecture and urbanism in the public eye. He is the author of Visions of Seaside: Foundations / Evolution / Imagination / Built & Unbuilt Architecture, published by Rizzoli in June 2013. His previous book, The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary was published by Rizzoli in 2010. He is also the co-editor of Leon Krier: The Architecture of Community published by Island Press in 2009. Since its formation in 1993, Thadani has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and is a former board member. He was a 2001 Fellow in the Knight Program for Community Building, a five-time recipient of the CNU Charter Award for design, and the recipient of the 2011 Seaside Prize.

Thank you, Dhiru, Remover-of-Obstacles, for all that you do for us and for the future of live classical music.

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FSI welcomes Mark Dulworth to its Board

With the arrival of the new year comes the blessings of a new board member. The Future Symphony Institute is most grateful that Mark Dulworth has accepted our invitation to join us in our work. Based in Houston, Mark has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Institute for some time now. Having been raised with music, he in turn raised his sons with music. And he and his family are deeply committed to FSI‘s vision and the values we exist to preserve and advance. Mark’s experience on the boards of other non-profits and the insights he has gleaned there over the years – especially at the Houston Institute, whose mission is so similar to our own – is greatly encouraging and we look forward to the advantages of our collaboration as we continue to mine the past in order to understand the present and the future of live, classical music.

Welcome, Mark, from the team at FSI. And Happy New Year to our many readers and supporters around the world!

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Conference: Culture and Art in a Populist Age

October 30, 2017

Dupont Circle Hotel, Washington DC

This one-day conference that includes FSI scholar Sir Roger Scruton and friends Heather Mac Donald and Daniel Asia explores the immediate future of the arts within the dynamic and controversial political environment that has emerged in the wake of the 2016 elections. How does the recent strand of populism affect the arts and humanities moving forward? Are the high arts insulated from the vicissitudes of quotidian life? Or does a populist surge speak directly to the arts in a post-Enlightenment era? Conference participants are uniquely suited to address these questions. And FSI founder Andrew Balio will also be contributing as a respondent to these talks.

Heather Mac Donald

The Manhattan Institute
“Vandals at the Opera House: Identity Politics Comes to the Opera Stage”

Eric Gibson

Wall Street Journal
“Headwinds on the Road to a Democratic Culture”

Sir Roger Scruton

The University of Buckingham and the Future Symphony Institute
“Why Taste Matters”

Daniel Asia and Bruce Cole

University of Arizona and the Ethics & Public Policy Center, respectively
“Consonance and Dissonance in the Music and Art World”

Robert E. Gordon and Aaron D. Mobley

University of Arizona and Berkeley City College, respectively
“The Value of Art and Music in a Popular Culture”

For the complete agenda and to register, visit the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Space is limited. Sponsored by the University of Arizona American Culture and Ideas Initiative and the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

These are some of our favorite thinkers all gathered in one place to reflect on a very important and timely subject. We look forward to meeting you there!

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FSI Introduces Its Newest Board Member

Birgit Kovacs, MD, MBA, brings to the Institute her passion for music as well as her experience as a physician, scientist, and executive in the pharmaceutical industry where she has served in a number of leadership roles during the past 15 years. An expert in Rheumatology / Immunology by day, Birgit is a dedicated musician by day and night. She is actively involved in multiple ensembles – playing cello, trombones, cimbasso, and tuba – and serves as a member of the development committee of the World Doctors Orchestra USA. As a cellist and trombonist in the World Doctors Orchestra, Birgit has performed benefit concerts in countries throughout the world, including Armenia, South Africa, Romania, Germany, Austria, and here in the US.

The Future Symphony Institute was founded to bring the expertise from fields far outside of the classical music world to bear on the challenges facing our orchestras. We are very excited to have on our team someone who is as competent in the worlds of scientific research and business as she is passionate about her participation in the future of classical music. Welcome, Birgit, from the team at FSI.

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