Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

music inspires

laura claycomb sings music's praises: part I

December 02, 2009

Soprano Laura Claycomb, who joins LACO on December 12 and 13 for its Bel Canto concert, articulates her passion for music and the joy of experiencing live orchestral concerts. She also recounts a heartwarming holiday story – a must read! Enjoy, and look out for part II next week.

Unlike most mortals, I abhor classical music as background music. I don’t understand how people can not LISTEN with every fibre of their being when there is classical music.

Since I am a musician by trade as well as vocation, I tend not to listen to much music when I’m not working, as I can’t just simply ENJOY it – I have to take it apart in my brain.
I’m a sharp critic. It is rare to find me with the radio or a CD on when I am not working on something.

When I turn on music, I am captivated and must concentrate on it. It is always in the foreground for me. So it is never the basis for me to get anything else done while I’m listening.

However, all that grandiose pomposity said, I find that my mind tends to be especially fertile during orchestral concerts. It’s as if my mind rides along on the waves of the music. I can’t get anything else accomplished as I’m in a concert hall; my mind focuses on the concert, and sometimes I get in this groove – and my mind wanders.

I can have some of my best ideas for future projects, recharge my musical batteries, so to speak, during orchestral concerts. Especially really good ones. Usually I’ll bring along a pad of paper and a pen to jot things down. I can’t seem to recreate the same thing at home, to use classical orchestral music as fertile ground for thought – it has to be live music I’m watching. Somehow that experience in its totality inspires me. I’m sure I must’ve been taken for a critic more than once in my life, as I furiously wrote down things during an orchestral concert.

The same can not be said of vocal programs in the concert hall, as there is always text and a dramatic context for vocal music. So I have to pay attention – it is not just pure music. I told my now-husband about how I missed making concrete music without any kind of context or words, and that I wanted to pick up one of my instruments again. I missed getting lost in the sheer structure of music, with no other guide to help you. Last Christmas, my present from him was the last to be opened. He presented me with a small box. Thinking he was going to propose to me, I opened it – - and it was a piece of rosin. He then wheeled in my new violoncello!!! A month later, he proposed, but I knew already on Christmas Day that he was a keeper… Now I just have to take lessons to pick up where I left off umpteen years ago!

Buy tickets to experience Laura Claycomb’s passion for music in her upcoming LACO debut!

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