October 29, 2009

Talent and Expression

Yesterday, I was privileged to meet a talented French conductor, Paul Meyer. In addition to his conducting, Paul happens to be one of the world’s foremost clarinetists.

Originally, I was supposed to have coffee with Mr. Lee at our usual hang out by the “pond,” but he changed plans at the last minute and invited me to an acquaintance’s photographic studio. By the way, Mr. Lee is was of the best net workers I have ever met. He is a brilliant man full of positive energy and always enjoys meeting new people. He has a knack for attracting all sorts of talented artists, intellectuals, business people, and otherwise interesting characters.

What was so nice about yesterday, was that there was no mention as to who would be at the studio. I just sat down for tea. We came to know each other through serendipity.

No, not bag tea...real tea...loose green leaves...hand picked, toasted, and rolled from the South of the Korean Peninsula.

Anyway, we all had nice conversations about life, photography, art and music. Me, being the least talented of the bunch just rolled along with my own naive views on each subject. I don’t care, I enjoy being in the company of people more talented and accomplished than myself. Kind of like basking in the sun...

[Yes, that is a big camera!]

At the studio, was my friend Mr. Lee, photographer Mr. Hong, artist Jino Park, gallery owner Soojin Song and Paul Meyer.

It just so happened, that Paul was in Seoul to conduct the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Quite an honor, but he is deserving while being humble. A trait that resonates with Korean culture. He was stopping by Mr. Lee’s restaurant to visit and that got the ball rolling...then everyone ended up at the studio drinking tea.

As I have mentioned before...everyone that you come into contact with, has a purpose for being in your life...I’ll let you decide for yourself why I ended up in the studio...what beautiful music!

The conversation ended on a good note about talent and self expression...

Being, that there those among us with such extraordinary talent... In recent times, people have lived vicariously through those extraordinarily talented people via Radio, TV, the Internet... However, I believe, those extraordinary people should be an inspiration as to what we all can aspire to. For expression is what makes us human; it is not only an talent, but a need.

My grandmother was born before there were cars, airplanes, radios, TVs or a recording industry...

One day, she told me everyone used to sing and/or be able to play a musical instrument. She said she even used to go to three different churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopal) every Sunday just so she could sing as much as possible. Later in life...to the dismay of her mother...she used to hang with the “band.” Not as a groupie, but as part of its circle of influence.

She wasn’t sitting in her room listening to a box because there was no box to listen to. Nowadays, the more we listen/watch that box...the less time for us to develop our own self expression and talents.

I suppose, now, everyone can play iTunes. This may be a good thing because I have noticed...and now believe...iTunes and the Internet has sparked a new generation with a vigorous interest in participation. ie Garage Band, Guitar Hero, Retail shops like Guitar Center, etc. Just check out all the amateurs on YouTube...I am hoping these are signs that the world is returning to the participation in “life” that my grandmother experienced.

I believe, your innate talent does not matter. What matters is expression and soul behind it. So just go with it...

Maybe I can embed that concept in my children...whether it is through art, dance, writing, speaking or sports. Maybe they can pass it on... Live life and celebrate talent, but don’t let others do live for you.

Thanks for sharing your talents with us, Paul...what a gift...truly an inspiration for us all...


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