Why We Do That Which We Do…
I write music. I conduct concerts. I teach. Invariably, with the state of the world being what it is, there are several moments of each passing day during which I find myself engaged in a philosophical battle that begins with the sad question, “Why should I bother?”
The correspondence below serves as an important reminder to me: THIS is why we do that which we do…
Subject: Thank you
Dear Mr. Richman,
I wanted to reach out to you, just to give you a heartfelt and sincere THANK YOU. While you obviously did not know it then, your performance that night touched me in ways which are becoming very useful to me right now, going through some tough times professionally. After having poured my heart and soul for the company I worked for during 8 years, I’ve recently been unfairly fired, basically because I focused on working instead of kissing up to my boss.
Facing this new stage and in trying to figure out what to do next in my life, I’ve been transported many times to that night of Dec. 7th, reliving moments that have helped me through. You see, besides the spot on music performance, what I got from seeing you conduct and talk to us about each of the pieces and your own work with John Williams, was admiration for your pure form of passion. It is obvious to me that you love what you do and you love sharing your love for what you do with others. In my next professional journey, I want to have that passion.
I have no idea where I will end up or what I will be doing, but my search will be driven by that quest for passion that I saw in you and I wish to emulate.
I am not sure if you will read these lines or if they will make any sense to you (sometimes it is hard to put thought into words) but I do want to at least try to reach out, in the hopes that I will be able to once again THANK YOU for being such a passionate person at what you do. I am sure that just as your work has touched me, it touches many others so please keep at it and know that while we may not always show it further than through our applause, we are thankful.
From: Lucas Richman
Sent: miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2017 09:36 a.m.
Subject: Re: Thank you – ** From Website
Dear Mr. S.:
Thank you so much for your very kind and gracious letter.
I’m very sorry to hear of your recent employment travails—if it is of any consolation, I have led my life aspiring to the highest level of integrity because, at the end of the day, I want to be able to go to sleep knowing that I was true to myself, did not cause harm and dealt with others with grace and kindness. I have confidence that you will bounce back readily…
I must tell you that, as kindly as you have expressed your appreciation for the December 7th performance of music by John Williams, your note arrived in my inbox at a time in which your words are sorely needed—not only by me but many of my colleagues. In the face of all the madness with which the world is currently preoccupied, those of us in the arts often question the importance of our own contributions to the world: “Does it really matter, in the grand scheme of things, that we forge on by playing our music?”
I do know, of course, that it not only matters but it is imperative that we continue creating art because, without art, we lose our own humanity. However, your sentiments are of great inspiration to me, reinforcing that which I already know to be true.
May I have your permission to share your letter with my colleagues? If you prefer, I can remove your name, as well as edit out any particulars that you might prefer to keep private.
In the meantime, I’d like to share with you the link to the Pittsburgh Symphony’s recording of my piano concerto, as well as a recent letter I received directly from Mr. Williams, himself, in response to my own letter of appreciation.
I send to you best wishes for finding the new, correct door that will lead you to a prosperous future.
Subject: RE: Thank you – ** From Website
Date: February 15, 2017 at 10:11:34 AM CST
To: Lucas Richman
Dear Mr. Richman,
Thank you for responding to my message and doing so in such an eloquent manner. I recently came across a quote from Sallie Krawcheck which I shared on my social media accounts… it not only reflects the way I’m coping with my employment matter, but also some of the thoughts you’ve shared with me: “If it comes down to your ethics vs. a job, choose ethics. You can always find another job”… and I’m sure I will. I am a firm believer that my best contributions to the world must be created through a framework of principled leadership, so I will take that quest with me to another job (hopefully soon).
Does it really matter, in the grand scheme of things, that you forge on by playing your music? OF COURSE IT DOES. First of all, I think that it is precisely during turbulent times, that people need to hold on to what they are most passionate about, in order to make it through themselves, but even more importantly, we (the general public) need artistic expressions to inspire us and to lift our spirits up in order to give us strength and hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you for forging on. Thank you for continuing to inspire others, give them moments of joy and hope.
I am humbled by your request for permission to share my message with your colleagues. Please feel free to do so and to not remove anything on it. I have no privacy issues at all.
Additionally, thank you for sharing Mr. Williams’ letter to you and the link to your Piano concerto. I am sure I will enjoy it dearly.
With great respect,