Life is Art
An Interview with Stephen Nachmanovitch

May 11, 2019

Interview by
Joanna Harcourt-Smith

In this week’s episode Stephen Nachmanovitch speaks with Joanna about: interdependence, the source of improvising; the poetic genius of Thich Nhat Hanh, emptiness is interbeing; the dance of the secular and the sacred; fluidity makes things new; breathing and time; the gateway to living life as art; mistakes create extraordinary things; the circularity of leadership; allowing oneself to have a fresh perception of objects or processes; the life-affirming power of beauty; how an experimental musician changed a small town for the better; life is art itself.

Stephen Nachmanovitch performs and teaches internationally as an improvisational violinist, and at the intersections of music, dance, theater, and multimedia arts. He is the author of “Free Play” (1990) and “The Art of Is” (2019). He graduated in 1971 from Harvard and in 1975 from the University of California, where he earned a Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness for an exploration of William Blake. His mentor was the anthropologist and philosopher Gregory Bateson. He has taught and lectured widely in the United States and abroad on creativity and the spiritual underpinnings of art. In the 1970s he was a pioneer in free improvisation on violin, viola and electric violin. He has presented master classes and workshops at many conservatories and universities, and has had numerous appearances on radio, television, and at music and theater festivals. He has collaborated with other artists in media including music, dance, theater, and film, and has developed programs melding art, music, literature, and computer technology. He is currently performing, recording, teaching, writing, and has completed a new book, “The Art of Is”.

“I Can’t Sit Still”, original music by Evarusnik

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