Performer vs. creator
There’s no question that good performers are necessary in order to bring musical compositions to life. I play the viola, and I’m always aware that when I’m playing a concert, the quality of my performance is of great importance in bringing the music to life for the people who are in that particular audience. So yes, in the limited sphere of my performances and my audiences, my role is critical, and if I play Mozart well, or Brahms, or Beethoven, I’m playing at least a small part in sustaining a vital and beautiful tradition. But what I certainly try to keep in mind, and what I think all performers should remember, if only to prevent over-inflated egos, is that thousands of people have played or sung or conducted Mozart and Brahms before us, and thousands will do so after us. The composer is the creator, and long after even the most brilliant and famous performers of the moment are forgotten, it’s the music that will remain.
A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.