The practice of contemplation has
long been a critical element in many artists' working process,
and is often embedded in their resulting work. Artists, scientists
and spiritual leaders all help develop our understanding
of this profoundly human phenomenon. Several artists in this
year's Crossing the Line festival such as Eliane Radigue,
Ryoji Ikeda, Richard Garet, and Raimund Hoghe quite explicitly
evoke a level of sustained attention.
This conversation explores the crossroads between contemplation
and artistic practice with best-selling French author, photographer,
and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, and legendary composer
Philip Glass. Moderated by Mark Epstein, MD, a noted psychiatrist
who has written extensively on Buddhism and psychotherapy.
Join us for this exceptional talk, which will be followed
by a book signing of Matthieu Ricard’s newly released book Why
Please Note: Event proceeds
to benefit Karuna-Shechen,
a non-profit organization providing access to primary healthcare
and education in India, Nepal, and Tibet.
Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who had a promising career
in cellular genetics before leaving France to study Buddhism
in the Himalayas thirty-seven years ago. He has lived and
worked in the Himalayan region for forty years. He is also
a bestselling author, translator and photographer, and an
active participant in current scientific research on the
effects of meditation on the brain. He lives in Tibet and
Nepal and works on humanitarian projects in these countries.
Matthieu donates all proceeds from his work and much of his
time to thirty humanitarian projects in Asia: www.karuna-shechen.org.
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for
his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with
artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody
Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary
and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual
life of his times. He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore.
He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School
and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied
with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved
to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue
Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland , Virgil Thomson
and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso
and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967
and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble - seven musicians playing
keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through
a mixer. The new musical style that Glass was evolving was
eventually dubbed "minimalism." Glass himself never liked
the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer
of "music with repetitive structures." Much of his early
work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant
melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry.
Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort
of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, and develops.
There has been nothing "minimalist" about his output. In
the past twenty-five years, Glass has composed more than
twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others
already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for
violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra;
soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized
classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris's documentary about
former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets;
a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated
with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing,
among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo
keyboard performances around the world, and continues to
appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble.
Mark Epstein, M.D. is an American psychiatrist who has written
extensively about Buddhism and psychotherapy. Epstein is
a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Medical School.
He has been a practicing Buddhist since his early twenties.
He is a psychotherapist with a private practice in New York
City, contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York
University. His books include Thoughts Without a Thinker,
Going to Pieces without Falling Apart and Open to desire.
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