Thanks to live-streaming, I had the opportunity to watch Joe Hisaishi’s (久石譲) World Dream concert in Tokyo. Hisaishi is a Japanese composer and musical director known for his works with his friend, Hayao Miyazaki’s (宮崎駿) on Studio Ghibli’s animated films (e.g., Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, etc.) To many, Hisaishi is a modern-day legend.
I enjoy symphony (philharmonic) orchestras. Watching as many as eighty, and sometimes over a hundred musicians playing different instruments helps me escape the hassle and bustle of everyday life. It relaxes me.
The limelight and focus of a philharmonic orchestra are always on the string section, with the 1st, the 2nd violins, viola, cello, and double bass. Depending on the musical composition, sometimes the woodwinds, the brass or the piano, and perhaps the harp may play some key partitions. Least noticed often are the percussion instruments, yes, the section all the way at the back of the orchestra.
At Hisaishi’s concert, thanks to the moving cameras, I discovered the magical sound of a percussion instrument (the “shaker.”) Listening and watching the musician played, I realised it was not as easy as I thought. It must be the right pitch at the right tempo for that little percussion instrument to strike a perfect harmony and add its charm to the rest of the orchestra.
For concert-goers, every concert is a different experience. With the help of camera zooming technology at the live-stream concert, I’ve gained a much deeper appreciation of how each instrument sounds and how they can all play together to perform an incredible masterpiece.
If “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)” has an Oscar, composers of symphonies and conductors of orchestras will surely be on the list. They are the ones who set the tempo, determine the correct entries of the instruments, bringing out the best of each while ensuring the instruments play in unison for the whole ensemble. For a world-class conductor, that skill is an art of technicality, heart, and soul. It is DEI leadership at its peak.
And, if you are not a concert but a sports enthusiast, I am sure you can find similar lessons on a soccer or any team sports field. A good captain unites the team, leverages each member’s strength, and helps members to cover the weakness of one another. Watching the game closely, we will see it is not just how the leader connects with each member, but how he or she helps every member connect with one another. Besides having an enjoyable event, there sure are valuable lessons we can pick up from these super DEI heroes.