When I started the Mozart birthday concerts in 2002, I could not have imagined it would still be here and have morphed into such an event.
There were two sparks behind the birth of these concerts, the first and most obvious being my deep love of Mozart. While Mozart is certainly deservedly well known and recognized as the genius he was, he isn't as easily enjoyed Beethoven or Bach. I think this is in part because his music is so seemingly simple and stripped to its essentials that often times performances don't capture his essence. In a certain way, his music suffers a little bit from the abstract painting "oh my seven-year-old could do that. .." syndrome. At first glance, much of it does seem "easy", but it is the contrast with the more tempestuous sections that first excited me and inspired me to reexamine the simpler parts, only to discover they are not simple at all!
The other motivation was to bring together different communities around music that I love to share using that connection to benefit a local nonprofit. In the past, we have held several concerts benefiting The Contributor. It feels like my mission and that of The Contributor share a quality of bringing together communities which might not normally feel a sense of kinship. In my case, I get to share music that I love with my host churches, their friends, and friends of the deserving nonprofit that year. The Contributor, their staff and vendors make Nashville a kinder and more humane place to live. This is my hometown and this means a lot to me personally. I believe that what happens with the Mozart Birthday concerts is similar to what this paper does; The Contributor builds bridges between folks who have homes and folks that don't, and it builds bridges of trust and recognition of our shared humanity, as does Mozart in Nashville.
When people of diverse backgrounds get together and share ideas and generate love, amazing things happen. This is what I hope the Mozart Birthday Concerts and the Nashville Concerto Orchestra will continue to contribute to our city.
- Roger Wiesmeyer, Founder, Mozart in Nashville