Waltons New School of Music - Why World Masters?

Why World Masters?

John Mardirosian, Director
Waltons World Masters Series
Waltons New School of Music

When I began working on the Waltons World Masters Series in 2003, I saw it as a logical extension of what we were doing at Waltons New School of Music. From the time the New School was founded in 1994, its ethos has been to treat different music genres as equals and to recognise that each has something vital to offer.

As a ‘classically’ trained musician, I have learned to appreciate Western art music’s myriad forms and long history, and I understand that the classical tradition provides musicians with unrivalled technical and theoretical training. However, I also recognise its limitations. For example, while improvisation was an essential element of music-making until the late eighteenth century, it is no longer an important aspect of that tradition. Jazz and blues, both of which have strong improvisational elements, are younger forms (although with ancient roots) that have a great deal to teach the classical musician, particularly the art and craft of stepping away from written music and creating it in the moment. Similarly, ‘playing by ear’ – that is, learning, understanding, repeating and varying music without any reference to notation – is not only essential to the Irish music tradition but to music traditions all over the world.

Diverse approaches to music-making in turn create wonderfully diverse forms of music, and my goal for the World Masters Series has been to bring a range of extraordinary musicians and performing groups, from different traditions, to Ireland – many of them for the first time. While some of these artists were not known in this country, I was convinced that in time the reputation of the Series would give audiences the confidence to ‘try’ artists, genres and traditions not known to them, and this is indeed what has happened. People are coming back for more because they know that whatever we present, it will be something special.

The World Masters Series is run on a non-profit basis and depends for its survival on a kind of unwritten ‘contract’ with its audiences. On the one hand, we work hard to present exceptional artists and performances. And on the other, you support the Series by purchasing tickets, attending concerts and, if you like what we do, spreading the word.

Thank you for your support over the last fourteen years.

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