Blair Tindall, oboist and author of Mozart in the Jungle, joined Peabody Dean Fred Bronstein in a conversation Monday, as part of the Dean’s Symposium series.
Emphasizing her fondness for the classical music community and her interest in helping to strengthen the industry, Ms. Tindall described how she came to write the book. After experiencing a lull in her musical career and finding herself at a personal crossroads, she decided to attend journalism school. There, she was tasked with writing about an experience which had a significant emotional impact. After hearing her story, her classmates said she had to write a book about her career. She realized that her life paralleled the arc of growth and decline among orchestras and the arts in America. She researched the classical music field and added snippets from her own life and career for the book.
At the talk, she said she intended to make a positive impact on the classical music community and hoped the book would be become a film or television series. As luck would have it, two days after the book was published the Coppola family contacted her for the broadcast rights; the Amazon series inspired by her book begins its third season on December 9. She said that the show has hired between 500 and 600 musicians in varied roles as performers and consultants, and shared a clip showing Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performing a cameo role in the show’s second season. Ms. Tindall noted that people are telling her they’re inspired by the show and taking instruments out of their attics.
Dean Bronstein asked Ms. Tindall for her advice on how students should better prepare for their future as musicians. She said that networking was vital. “I got the best gigs of my life through other women helping each other,” she said. Students should also take every opportunity to improve their communications skills through writing and speaking in public. She also said she feels there is a greater call for artists to be arts advocates, and that musicians have to want to make music and nothing else.
Ms. Tindall does have plans for a second book – what happens after the memoir – as well as other writing projects on tap. In closing, she told Peabody students that she loves classical music and still enjoys performing and being part of the “tribe.”
Upcoming guests in the Dean’s Symposium series include New Yorker music critic Alex Ross on February 6 and theater and opera director Peter Sellars on April 17.