Editorial: hard work and inspiration can push artists forward

From soprano Barbara Hannigan conducting the Berlin Phil to arts professionals learning new tricks, hard work and imagination can lead to bigger things, writes Maria Roberts.

A strong work ethic and the freedom to experiment can bring real rewards. In our Spotlight this issue, soprano Barbara Hannigan recounts an incredible year. Brimming with ideas and inspiration, the vocalist takes delight in learning new tricks, from performing on pointe for Lulu, to singing in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, which turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of her life – despite feeling ‘naked and exposed’.

Learning from others is at the heart of the 10th Clore Leadership Programme. Joining professionals from the UK are Mohamed El Ghawy, a theatre director from Cairo; Meena Vari, a contemporary arts specialist who lives in Bangalore; and Cathy Marston, a choreographer and ballet director living in Bern. ‘The individuals get stretched and challenged and discover that they have transferable skills that can be applied in a different setting,’ says director Sue Hoyle.

Further afield in NZ we speak to the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. Despite calls to ensure NZ violinists always make it to the semi-finals, the contest’s organisers have a different opinion: ‘…if Kiwis want to engage globally – whether it be in the arts, business, sport – they have to get themselves to that top level, and so no special dispensations are allowed. If Kiwis get invited, then they’ve earned it fair and square,’ says executive director, Anne Rodda.

Here at IAM we’re having rest from hard work for two weeks and the next issue will be out on 12 September. My tasks during this time include learning how to bake an edible cake and tomato throwing at Spain’s La Tomatina festival in Buñol.

Read the latest issue of IAM here.