“Many would have said tough luck, but [he] said how can we turn this into an opportunity for our kids,” says O’Connor, who performs at Festival Miami Oct. 13.
Now a resident artist at Frost, he has taught bluegrass fiddling, coached classical string players and lectured on his new method for teaching violinists that mirrors Berg’s philosophy.
“We’re kindred spirits,” O’Connor says. “He would also really like to have musicians come out much more versatile … more equipped to handle the potential in the music industry of the 21st century that’s going to include creativity.”
Creatively linking the school to the music industry is the topic one recent afternoon at a session with three graduate students, three faculty members and a guest — Elizabeth Sobol, a soft-spoken classical music powerhouse who spent 30 years managing stars like Itzhak Perlman at IMG Artists and recently became CEO of Universal Music Classics, a group of top classical labels.
“We’re here to brainstorm and set up a mechanism where real action can happen,” Berg tells the group.
“A vision, that’s what’s missing,” says Sobol. “If I could have anything in the world, what would it look like?”
The conversation ranges from the shrinking of classical music audiences to luring young listeners to enlisting students to market a concert series Universal Music Classics is launching with Miami’s YoungArts Foundation in November.
After two hours, Berg is beaming. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “I’m really thrilled. This should affect everything we do.”