Classical composer Paul Joseph on the egoless energy of spirit flow
Read Paul Joseph's story
Why Classical Music? For those of European descent, it’s our roots. It’s in our blood. It’s a journey into the soul. And since it delves into the essence of humanity, it has the power to touch those of any background.
Our world is suffering many concurrent crises, which are all symptoms of one underlying crisis: that of the spirit. We’ve become too disconnected from who and what we are, and we need to reconnect.
That’s why our culture today needs classical music. It shows us what the human spirit can achieve. Therefore I find it being my deepest form of expression. Although I love music of all genres, today I listen to classical music almost exclusively. Art is food for the soul, and I like to take in the most nutritious food I can find.
Other music may have been around for thousands of years, this music for a few hundred years. Either way, if you want to go forward you have to go back. Things always evolve, but don’t always progress. The 20th century was in many ways an experiment musically (as well as culturally), littered with many dead ends.
Mozart Meets Jazz - Nova Philharmonic & Paul Joseph Quartet
In yesteryears, people had longer attention spans. Now people are more easily distracted. Today we have the technological ability to access anything, but how much do we actually access? In practice, we have less access than in times past.
People think that everything has been done, but true personal expression is always unique. Every moment is brand new while simultaneously maintaining the continuity of past tradition.
Meanwhile, the more we go into ourselves the more we are the same as everyone else. The art is deep within, and all the great composers send out the same message. Sound is just the tip of the iceberg. Music is so much more than sound. It’s energy. Music is non-visual and happens in real-time, mirroring the inner world of thought, emotion and spirit. Great composers are not great due to genius, rather it’s because they are mediums through which the egoless energy of spirit flows.
I don’t consider myself a musician’s musician. I’m more of a people’s musician. The musical motifs are merely representations of the human experience.
Music for me has always been a creative tool to channel expression. The first formative music experience that I’m aware of was probably in my crib listening to my sister Rosemarie practicing opera as part of her Juilliard training. So even though I was never enrolled there, I guess I attended by proxy! Despite that, I didn’t gravitate to music at a young age. That changed in adolescence when I found some 60s rock albums around the house that belonged to my older sisters. After exploring the popular music of this period, I then moved on to the more improvisational music of the 60s (which led me into jazz) and the subsequent progressive rock of the early 70s (which led me into classical). Jazz is improvisational while in classical music you can work things out. However, the classical composers were great improvisers. If not, they wouldn’t have been able to create the music they did. A great composition flows like a fluid improvisation, while a great improvisation has the logic of a well worked out composition.
My compositions always start from improvisation, which is what I practice every day whether or not I actually commit notes to paper. The problem with composers is they spend too much time composing and not enough time creating music. Composing and creating are two different things. Most important is experiencing the artistic process. And our greatest work of art is our own lives.
My own greatest work of music was premiered in 2015 in New York City: the multidisciplinary extravaganza “The King of the Mask”, a 50 minute symphonic fantasy which is the lifelong reflection of the celebrated Cuban artist Roman Valdes. In 2016 I’ll be devoting my time to working on bringing this visual art and music collaboration to a third discipline: ballet. As well as my compositions in the orchestral world, I’m busy with improvisation in the jazz world with The Paul Joseph Quartet which is known for its unique jazz arrangements of classical music, exemplified in their performance with New York’s Nova Philharmonic of “Mozart Meets Jazz” and their upcoming premier of “Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons Jazz” this Fall. This furthers the connection, previously described, of these 2 genres. To find out more and to see where this is all going, please visit my website.
King of the Mask - Queensboro Symphony Orchestra (audio)
Thank you, and may your life be a blessed and inspiring artistic experience.
Paul Joseph is a pianist and composer of classical music for orchestras and ballet. Find out more HERE.
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