For Good Measure, by Ensemble for These Times (E4TT)
Episode 6: Anthony R. Green
Looking for a way to listen to diverse creators and to support equity in the arts? Tune in weekly to For Good Measure!
In this week’s episode, we talk to Anthony R. Green about the role of social justice in his practice and adapting to today's changed world. If you enjoyed today’s conversation and want to know more about Anthony R. Green, visit https://www.anthonyrgreen.com/ . Parts of this episode originally premiered on March 2021, found on Youtube, click here.
This podcast is made possible in part by a grant from the California Arts Council and generous donors, like you. Want to support For Good Measure and E4TT? Make a tax-deductible donation or sign up for our newsletter, and subscribe to the podcast!
Intro music: “Trifolium” by Gabriela Ortiz, performed by E4TT (Ilana Blumberg, violin; Abigail Monroe, cello; Margaret Halbig, piano), as part of “Below the Surface: Music by Women Composers,” January 29, 2022
Outro music: “Lake Turkana” by Marcus Norris, performed by E4TT (Margaret Halbig, piano), as part of “Alchemy,” October 15, 2021
Transcription courtesy of Otter.ai.
Producer, Host, and E4TT co-founder: Nanette McGuinness
Audio Engineer: Stephanie M. Neumann
Podcast Cover Art: Brennan Stokes
Interns: Merve Tokar and Roziht Edwards
[INTRO MUSIC] Welcome to "For Good Measure," an interview series celebrating diverse composers and other creative artists sponsored by a grant from the California Arts Council. I'm Nanette McGuinness, artistic executive director of Ensemble for These Times. In this week's episode, we're joined by Anthony R. Green, who we spoke to in March 2021. [INTRO MUSIC ENDS] Thank you so much for making time for us today. Social Justice plays an important role in your musical works. What are some of your artistic goals and visions in that direction? Have the events of 2020 shifted your perspective on your role as an artist of change?Anthony R. Green:
With regards to social justice, I naturally have gravitated towards implementing that aspect of creativity into my practice. One of the first ever social justice pieces that I compose was way back in 2004 2005. And it concerned death in the war in Iraq. I had come across this article on the internet that basically said, the amount of reported deaths in the war in Iraq is much lower than the amount of actual death in this war. And amazingly enough, sadly enough, in 2020, actually, even today, when we see the numbers of the amount of people officially reported to have passed away because of Coronavirus. It is most likely extremely low compared to the actual numbers of people who have died because of Coronavirus. So in a weird way, that very first social justice piece that I ever composed, has come around to the events that started in 2020. And have and are unfortunately still continuing. However, it's super important in my practice that I use my platform to talk about various different issues such as the power of women, immigration, of course, matters related to black life in the United States and around the world. And transgender issues, access issues in terms of ableism, all sorts of issues can be discussed, and, and examined in a composition. But first and foremost, as a social justice artist, when I go about creating a piece of social justice, music, I want my audiences to think about the issues that are being presented to them. And hopefully, my pieces will will help people go home from that experience, and do some more research, do some more reading, perhaps do some more talking with their friends and family, and then be an agent of change.Nanette McGuinness:
Who or what was the inspiration behind "On Top of a Frosted Hill?" You originally wrote the work for cello and piano, later arranging it for several different combinations of instruments. Is one of the instrumentations a favorite child?Anthony R. Green:
"On Top of a Frosted Hill" is one of the most personal pieces that I composed. I had the pleasure of living in Boulder, Colorado for almost five years of my life. And I remember the first time that I climbed the foothills, up to the royal arch, which is a path that starts in Boulder. I remember coming across this feeling of grandeur and just marveling at the beautiful sights, and the smells and the quality of the air and all of the wonderful things that are associated with doing this hike. And oddly enough, I didn't compose on top of a frosted hill when I was in Colorado. I composed it when I was in the Netherlands in a summer trip, because at that time I spent summers in the Netherlands and then returned to Colorado. Now also at that time, I was in a cello Piano Duo with my wonderful friend, Mathieu D’Ordine. And we of course were looking for repertoire and of course I wanted to compose a piece for him I've been wanting to I had been one wanting to compose a piece for him for quite a while. So it was great to get the opportunity to do this. And I remember sitting at the piano, thinking about Boulder and then all of a sudden this AC, slow, cold, serene music just started to come out of me. And that turned into "On Top of a Frosted Hill." In terms of a favorite instrumentation, I do have to say I am very much. Do you have any advice to give both aspiring and current So a fan of the original cello piano instrumentation. That's how the piece was conceived. And that's still where my heart lies. But I have to say, for all of the people who have performed the piece, they have all done such a wonderful job with the piece and pour their hearts and souls and their top musicianship within this piece. So I'm really just happy when anybody plays it, and gives it that special something from within themselves to make the piece come alive. artists in these pandemic times or going forward, It is now 2021. And last year, the world literally changed. And that change, we can say that it was a horrible change. Or we can accept reality, we can recognize what the world is right now. And make changes within ourselves to survive and thrive. It is our duty as artists to not wallow in the suffering and the daggers that life throws at us. It is our duty as artists to continue to make this world a better place. One of the best Toni Morrison moments, is when she said in times where the world is low, that's when artists get to work. Right? The world right now is in a pretty low place. And this is the time for artists to get to work. So if I were to impart any information on the current society, community of living artists, especially living musicians, and composers, I just want to tell you all that the box is destroyed. Right? The box does not exist anymore. That model that we were so accustomed to, from March and before 2020, that's gone, it's completely gone. And we shouldn't pretend that it still exists because it does not exist anymore. And as soon as we accept that the box is gone. That's when we can allow ourselves to actually live outside of the box. I like to say that a part of me has been living outside of the box throughout my own, my my all all of my career, not necessarily out of choice. But now we are all living outside of that box. So what are you going to do with that information.Nanette McGuinness:
[OUTRO MUSIC] Thank you for listening to "For Good Measure," and a special thank you to our guest Anthony R. Green for joining us today. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to our podcast by clicking on the subscribe button and support us by sharing it with your friends, posting about it on social media, and leaving us a rating and a review. To learn more about E4TT, our concert season online and in the Bay Area, or to make a tax deductible donation, please visit us at www.E4TT.org. This podcast is made possible in part by a grant from the California Arts Council and generous donors like you. "For Good Measure" is produced by Nanette McGuinness and Ensemble for These Times and designed by Brennan Stokes. With special thanks to audio engineer extraordinaire Stephanie Neumann. Remember to keep supporting equity in the arts and tune in next week "for good measure." [OUTRO MUSIC ENDS]