Bruce Adolphe - "Salzburg Global Seminar Has Been a Great Inspiration to Me"




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Jul 09, 2018
by Bruce Adolphe
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Bruce Adolphe - "Salzburg Global Seminar Has Been a Great Inspiration to Me"

Renowned U.S. composer and artistic director of Off the Hook Arts Festival reveals, in his own words, how Salzburg Global reaffirmed his commitment to combining the arts with social issues Bruce Adolphe has been a participant at two Salzburg Global Seminar programs

The Salzburg Global Seminar has been a great inspiration to me and, most directly, has powerfully influenced my concepts and programming for the Off the Hook Arts Festival in Colorado, of which I have been artistic director since its founding seven years ago. The two Salzburg Global [programs] in which I participated intensified my commitment to combining the arts with urgent social issues: mixing artistic programming with science-oriented educational events; breaking down barriers between artistic and academic disciplines; and strengthening the music community's ability to affect positive change in the world.
The 2018 summer festival, for example, examines climate change from a variety of angles by bringing together music, visual arts, and science for four weeks of concerts, lectures, films, art exhibitions and STEAM-based educational events for all ages. We are calling the festival Mission Earth and dedicating the entire summer to the life and work of the late astronaut and scientist, Dr. Piers Sellers OBE. Inspired by the interdisciplinary investigations so typical of the Salzburg Global Seminar, I have invited over 20 scientists from around the United States to speak to our audiences in a variety of settings: lectures; pre-concert presentations; panels and roundtable talks. As always, the festival presents classical chamber music and jazz, with a mix of standard repertoire and new music, including several world premieres.
Here are the scientists who will join our music/art festival this summer:

  • Edward Barbier, Department of Economics, CSU
  • Joseph Berry, Carnegie Institution, Stanford
  • Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, CSU
  • SueEllen Campbell, Department of English, CSU
  • Scott Denning, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, CSU
  • Juergen Drescher, Director of the German Aerospace Center
  • Lindsay Ex, City of Fort Collins Climate Change
  • Inez Fung, University of California, Berkeley
  • Bob Henson, The Weather Company Jeff Hill, Bounce Software, LLC
  • Julia Klein, Department of Ecosystem Science, CSU
  • Erika Osborne, Department of Art, CSU
  • John Pippen, Department of Music, CSU
  • Susan Quinlan, Jax Mercantile
  • David Randall, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, CSU
  • Monique Rocca, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, CSU
  • David Schimel, Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena
  • Pete Seel, Department of Communications, CSU
  • Lucinda Smith, City of Fort Collins Environmental Services
  • Mayor Wade Troxell, City of Fort Collins
  • Compton Tucker, Goddard Space Center NASA

Here is the link to our SummerFest website:
Last summer, we focused the festival on human rights, and my friend KAL (Kevin Kallaugher), editorial cartoonist of The Economist, was our artist-in-residence. KAL and I met at the Salzburg Global Seminar and not only have we remained friends ever since, [but] we have [also] created some unusual collaborations, mostly improvisational, to highlight the creative process in the service of social and political awareness (while getting laughs.)
In my own composing, I have increasingly addressed political and social issues, feeling the energy and mission of the Salzburg [programs] in my thinking. My violin concerto, "I Will Not Remain Silent," is inspired by the life of Rabbi Joachim Prinz, whose activism in Nazi Germany and later in the United States is legendary. Continuing that line of thought, my latest orchestral work is called "I too Bleed," and "Hope for Beauty" and is dedicated to the memory of Alma Rosé, Mahler's niece and the conductor of the women's orchestra in Auschwitz.
With America now facing serious threats to democracy, rising racism, and brutal governmental policies, musicians and artists cannot remain complacent, cannot merely entertain or provide escapist experiences. We need to be in the front lines, where the arts belong: music and art have the ability to awaken our humanity, illuminate our frailties, vulnerabilities, and our hopes. What good is music if it does not help us feel our commonality?
Thank you, Salzburg!

Bruce Adolphe has attended two programs at Salzburg Global Seminar. In 2011, he attended Instrumental Value: The Transformative Power of Music. In 2015, he was a participant at The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? Has Salzburg Global had an impact on your career or your way of thinking? Do you have a story you would like to share? Email! We'd love to hear from you!