TRUST AND CHALLENGE
Ask any musician to name some of the main influences throughout their musical life and you’ll probably get quite an immediate response. The names mentioned will often include not only an inspirational teacher, but will quickly settle on experiences and memories of a musician who has made a different kind of lasting impression. It may be someone who has given some simple yet pertinent words of advice at a perfect moment that still resonate to this day. It may be an artist admired for years from afar who has gradually developed into a trusted sounding-board and instigator of artistic curiosity. Inherent in most of these relationships, I believe, are two central qualities: trust and challenge. In order for deep musical change and growth to be allowed to occur, there has to exist a strong bond of trust, born out of mutual respect, and this takes time.
In the midst of our increasingly demanding and strenuous musical landscape, time and space easily become rare commodities. This is nowhere more so than for a young artist on the brink of their professional performing career, just released from the safe, secure confines of a recently completed formal study programme. To have the opportunity to form a relationship with another artist, one who is already internationally established, aware of the difficulties and pitfalls ahead, who has already been on their own journey and can calmly look back, pointing out similarities and alternatives from a place of quiet confidence, is an invaluable and unique experience. The relationship has to be free to take whatever form is felt necessary at that point in both the mentor’s and the younger artist’s career, be it more advice giving, support and friendship, artistic questioning and challenge, observing each other ‘in action’.
Whatever the direction required, we hope that this inspirational mentoring scheme, established because of Philip Langridge’s sincere belief in the power and necessity of such artistic relationships, will serve to sustain and encourage artistic growth and inspiration.