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Ep. 3 From Emperors' Courts to Temple Courtyards: World Music Legacies with Dr. Robert Garfias

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💫 Short Summary

The video showcases the speaker's journey through music, from their early exposure to different musical traditions to their specialization in Japanese court music and Indian music. They discuss the evolution of American audiences' appreciation for Indian music, challenges faced by hereditary musicians, and the importance of preserving traditional teaching methods. The speaker reflects on the shift towards technology in music education and shares insights on respecting musical traditions. They also touch on their experiences teaching and advising on national artistic endeavors, emphasizing the balance between technical skill and emotional expression in music.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Speaker's encounter with mentor Dr. Garfield in the Southern California dance community.
Reflection on initial meeting at University of California Irvine and gratitude towards Dr. Garfield for guidance.
Dr. Garfield's significant role as a mentor highlighted, emphasizing respect and admiration for wisdom and knowledge.
Conversation captures sense of appreciation and nostalgia for relationship developed over the years.
The speaker discusses growing up in a household where only Spanish was spoken and the artistic talents of their father.
Despite being artistic in music, poetry, calligraphy, and design, the father had to work in manual labor due to difficulties for Mexicans.
The speaker was born in San Francisco and raised in the culturally inclined Bay Area, contrasting it with Southern California.
The focus is on the challenges faced by Mexicans in finding meaningful work.
The speaker's journey into music was influenced by early exposure to Chinese opera, world music, and a passion for the arts.
The speaker faced challenges in pursuing a career in music but was encouraged by family support to follow their passion.
They learned to play the guitar and saxophone, highlighting the rarity of finding classical guitar teachers and limited resources compared to modern times.
The speaker's early interest in music, leading to a career playing in a band on ocean liners and traveling to Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Fascination with Japanese house designs and music played in the imperial palace.
Specialization in Japanese court music and receiving the Order of the Rising Sun from the Emperor of Japan.
Shift in focus to Japanese court music and recognition for contribution to humanity.
The speaker's fascination with Indian and Japanese court music.
Japanese court music, known as Gagaku, is a ceremonial tradition that piqued the interest of Western composers like Debussy and Stravinsky.
The speaker also delved into music from Turkey, South Korea, and the Philippines, receiving a grant to document Asian culture and arts during the Cold War.
The speaker's work and recordings were analyzed at a recent conference in Korea, showcasing his expertise in Asian music.
Speaker's extensive work in various countries studying classical music.
Surprised by American acquaintances' knowledge of a specific music style.
Worked with individuals like Rusty Gillette and Dr. Brown, performing at the Center of World Music for almost three decades.
Exposed to different musical events within their family and interactions with renowned figures in the music industry.
The speaker recalls forming connections with Vishwa, Bala, and their family in Japan in the 60s.
Meeting Bala led to an introduction to Amir Khan and other North Indian musicians.
Attending a concert with Bala, Amir Khan dedicated the performance to her, highlighting their close bond.
Through Bala, the speaker was introduced to Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar, gaining insight into the music scene.
Discussion of unique performance close to the core of Bharatanatyam with authentic singing.
Wesleyan University offering studies in South Indian music and Bharatanatyam.
Speaker's visits to Wesleyan and interactions with ethnomusicology programs.
Connections with Cal Arts and University of Washington's ethnomusicology programs.
Mention of Vishwa teaching since 1958 and a summer at Mills College as part of the ASEANA program.
Growing appreciation for Indian music in American audiences.
American students attracted to South Indian music due to musicians like Vishwa and Raga.
Initial confusion over technical aspects of Indian music, but found impressive and expressive.
Emotional depth and complexity of Indian ragas appreciated by those who took time to understand them.
Indian music admired for its beauty and intricacy by American audiences.
The importance of feeling music and the controversy surrounding hereditary musicians.
The Dhanamal family, known as the royal family of traditional music, faced insults and mistreatment.
Critics questioned the talent of the main artist from the family.
Despite the criticism, the family had admirers outside their genre.
The family managed to transcend the criticism with their talent and supporters.
Chennai's vibrant arts festival lasts from October to February, showcasing a rich cultural and artistic scene.
The overwhelming amount of concerts and events can be challenging to absorb, especially compared to the limited arts exposure in Southern California.
The value of old recordings and traditional teaching methods is highlighted, with a preference for pre-war Japanese court music performances.
Concerns are raised about the shift towards conservatories over one-on-one teaching in preserving musical traditions.
Shift from traditional music learning methods to modern technology and time constraints.
Nostalgic reflection on the old days of learning music through observation and practice.
Mention of the concept of learning through osmosis and constant exposure to music.
Examples of musicians who dedicated years to observing and absorbing the musical tradition before performing.
Highlight on the move towards a structured and time-limited learning environment.
Importance of Teaching Tradition in Gagaku Music
The speaker toured the US with Japanese court musicians in 1959 and learned to mimic their unique sound through constant exposure.
Later taught gagaku at the University of Washington, focusing on respect for tradition and formal practice.
Teaching every instrument player involved instilling respect for tradition and maintaining dignity.
Reflects on the significance of teaching the serious tradition over seeking personal respect as a teacher.
Importance of honoring traditions in art.
Japanese and Korean cultures give national awards for intangible cultural properties, passed down through generations.
These traditions represent the spirit of the art, not just the performer.
National Council for the Arts advises the president on grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ensuring preservation and support of artistic endeavors.
Reflections on serving under multiple presidents and advising on national art medals.
The speaker served under Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, offering a unique perspective as a non-typical Reagan Republican.
Discussion about classical arts at the NEA and reminiscing about notable artists present.
Delving into the distinct characteristics of various musical cultures, highlighting diversity in aesthetics, values, tuning, and intonation.
Unique aspects of South Indian Carnatic music compared to North Indian music.
Importance of music being performed with spontaneity and emotion, rather than just technical aspects.
Misconceptions about performers only doing one type of music.
Emphasis on the balance between technical skill and emotional expression in music.
Lack of soulful music in today's music industry.
Artists prioritize attention-grabbing over creating soulful music.
Mention of 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis from 1960 and its significance.
Concern over a group in New York recreating 'Kind of Blue' note for note, lacking spontaneity.
Increased exposure to jazz in the speaker's family due to their son's musical training and time in New York.
Reflection on love for jazz music and goal of learning Spanish at age 80.
Practice of saxophone and inspiration from great-grandfather's pursuit of learning Greek at the same age.
Admiration for colleague's influence on young women in teaching Indian dance and music.
Emphasis on tradition and respect in teaching music and life lessons.
Impact of colleague's teachings on students beyond music education.
Appreciation for Young Women Pursuing Artistic Passions.
The diversity of students, including North Indians, who value and engage with the Carnatic tradition is highlighted.
Gratitude is expressed for the support received and admiration for the inclusive approach to performances, involving students at all levels.
The speaker feels honored to collaborate with renowned artists in South Indian music and dance, finding the experience enriching and impactful.
Speaker expresses gratitude to the audience.
The speaker thanks the audience for their support and attention.
Background music plays during the segment.