Announcing the launch of my "Musical Wanderings"
"Musical Wanderings" is Franco-American concert pianist George Lepauw's writing home on the Internet.
I am excited to introduce you to my "Musical Wanderings", my new space for more formal writing, and for my newsletter, to share updates in my musical life.
Its purpose is to function as a communications platform for all my work. Music, writing, audiovisual media, artistic collaborations and other creative explorations will all be a part of this space. It is meant as a place for me to showcase and build upon my body of work as a concert and recording pianist, an improviser and composer, as a writer about music and culture, as an organizer and producer, and as an educator and teacher.
The Covid crisis has moved our digital lives center stage, and technological advances are pushing society even further into this realm. The pandemic taught me that my creative life was far too dependent on factors outside of my control: concert halls and recording spaces closed, restrictions galore on travel… It was a defining learning moment, and one to heed in this uncertain world.
Being a musician, however, is a constant part of my life. That is why it is so important for me to be able to continue working and sharing no matter the external circumstances. Building this space is essential to my art and my work.
It is also vital in these times for an artist to be directly connected to, and supported by, his audience. Of course it is important financially, which is the name of the game when it comes to doing good work, but it is also key to building a community.
I also strongly believe that the time of constant touring must come to a close. The climate crisis we are facing requires us to slow down, and to think twice about taking an airplane. It also forces us to look inward, and locally! So much happens in our own backyards that we are unaware of, and I think we should explore more of it. For the rest, there is the wondrous Internet, with its limitless international and multicultural reaches.
We are social animals, after all, and yet the life of the artist is often a solitary experience (even on the road!). Indeed, it is not always clear how the work we put out is received by people. Amazingly, there is comparatively little personal feedback from the recordings I have made (there are no comment sections on Apple Music, Spotify and most other streaming services) even though they have statistically done very well. This results from the very inhuman mega platforms we have to deal with, making it difficult to have any meaningful connection to our fans unless they make the effort to find us on social media or after concerts in real life.
Yet, I am driven to make music, write and create artistic experiences, for people!
This is why it is so important to me that this creative space become a warm gathering of friends and fans. Controlling our means of production and our means of distribution may be the only way to build a supportive and connected community of people online in a way that is fair and rewarding to all.
This space gives me the chance to experiment and share my thinking, my music and all creative output that I feel is ready for some degree of public sharing.
It won't stop me from performing in the real world, from occasional touring, and from meeting my audience in person. But it is a way for me to be in touch with you regularly. While some of you may be wondering what I have been up to, this will show you that I have not stopped toiling and that I am actively refining my craft and continuing to work on multiple projects. A lot is cooking and on the way!
I have long aspired to have a strong community accompany me on my artist's journey. In the real world, I have experienced this in waves over the years, but that was before Covid! I am now more than ever dedicated to building this community online.
Having my community become my most reliable source of financing is also a critical shift that helps guarantee I can sustain an independent music practice. Most people do not realize that, unfortunately, royalties for 99% of classical musicians aren’t enough to pay rent, as goes the expression. Dependence on aleatoric public performance, now more than ever, is unwise. Direct support from fans, however, can make up for the lack of returns from the streaming platforms who keep the lion’s share of profits from the work we musicians do.
What I really want is to fulfill my own personal mission: to share my passion for music and the arts with a caring and interested audience! Your support makes it possible for me to spend my time sharing what I love most with you. I would hope that by subscribing, you would learn something, and also feel that you were contributing to something positive in this world through the public projects I create, reaching hundreds of thousands of people around the globe via my recordings and films.
Here is my plan to get this creative space started:
Once a month, I will put out a free article for anyone to read, whether or not a subscriber. This piece will let people know what I am working on and what I am going to develop over the course of the month.
For paying subscribers, I will publish something every two weeks. Sometimes it will be an article about something I am working on or researching, or an audio performance, or a video, or an interview, or a podcast, or a listening recommendation about something I have come to love and really want you to listen to (or watch).
When I do perform in real life (or “irl” as the kids say now), I will give paying subscribers access to the recordings or videos when they exist. In cases where there is a livestream, I will invite you to it when possible.
In general I will share a lot about my thinking and creative process; I will share known and less-known stories about music and music history; I will occasionally share interviews with musicians and artists I meet on my journey.
I will share details about my upcoming recording projects, including my complete Beethoven Sonata recording and film which is currently in its pre-production phase and is heating up.
I will even share clips from my upcoming recordings before the general public has access, along with photos and videos from its various production phases, so you get the full picture and see what is happening.
All of these things will arrive directly in your inbox and will remain accessible on this site if you subscribe.
I am also aiming to write a book on music in the coming years and the articles I publish here play into my writing process. Some of the topics I address will certainly make their way into the book, so it is important to me to do my best writing and to do so often. Your support is a great motivating factor for this!
Lastly, I will go through my archives and publish past articles, past concert recordings and videos, and other bits of history, as I truly want to make this the central resource for subscribers of my entire creative life, past and present.
I believe we are living at a cross-roads moment for classical music, and I think we have the opportunity to make it exciting for the next generations. I am doing my part to keep it going and make it work, and I hope you will join this conversation.
Making art is part of why humans are such a unique species. To invent sounds and images from the depths of our imaginations for no other reason than to elicit emotional responses is extraordinary. Art and music make us what we are, and I still carry hope that our creative powers can solve our world's very real problems.
I look forward to our exchanges.
If you are interesting in helping me in any way, please let me know! As I build this platform, I hope to build a team of volunteers to help me succeed.
Lastly, it is of course possible to subscribe for the free tier, and I encourage it if you are not sure about doing more. I am happy to have you as a reader always!
Many thanks for reading and for your support!
P.S. Some of you know I also have a Patreon community. I love my supporters there and use that platform as more of an inner circle group of supporters, for those who want to see my work in both their formal realisations as well as in their draughting phases. It's a bit messier by design, but there are more options for support than on this here platform. Feel free to go take a look if you prefer: www.patreon.com/georgelepauw.
If you have already been supporting me on the Patreon platform, where I have been active these last few years, I will share, there, what I publish here, so you can stay put, unless you'd like to switch.