Greg Maroney shares his vision of music and explains why music can be mirculous medium to communicate emotional content and touch others.
To me, music is a deep communication between the outer world and the inner world or the physical universe and the life force or spark that is in all of us. It’s also a way to communicate emotions. It is quite miraculous, really, that by striking some metal strings with felt hammers, we are able to communicate emotional content, and touch others through this medium
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
I think there is a lot of fantasy in music, and it can really spark your imagination into new areas. However, I think there is an emotional content that people respond to, and that is very real, even if different for each listener. They feel the sadness, happiness, joy, love, and loss that is communicated through music.
If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?
I spent many years in the emergency medical field and my music was an emotional outlet. Now I do music full time. I think I would do that again if given the opportunity.
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?
Not so much for myself, because my music takes its classical roots and puts a more modern approach to it. I think people respond easily to this.
What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?
I see many composers forging onward, creating their own music that hopefully will be “classical music” in 100 years. I also see dedicated artists trying to bring classical music back by adding some drama or other features to captivate the audience. I think this fresh approach will help tremendously to keep classical music alive.
When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?
There are some cello duo acts that really make music interesting. A few violinists really stand out by making music dramatic and entertaining. I think they do a lot of good in bringing older music to the stage and engaging audiences. Popular culture has a history of bringing classical music to us in disguise. How many of us learned the William Tell Overture from The Lone Ranger? Progressive rock bands of the 70’s drew heavily on classical music but it wasn’t identified as such. Now there’s a trend of mixing the classical with the current but giving each it’s due.
Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What’s the role of creativity in the musical process for you?
I do think the classical musician needs to be more creative. Audiences are changing, and changes are coming quicker then we can keep up with. Attention spans are getting shorter, and there is a desire by the audience to be completely pulled into the performance by more stimulating effects. The multi-media approach seems to be becoming the standard.
Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?
I think a blending of new compositions that are more tailored to the younger generations, coupled with the classics done in exciting ways will attract the younger generation. I am afraid that the old style of classical concerts may be too tame for a generation that is accustomed to immersive content.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favorite piece (written by you) how did you start working on it?
I have several favorite pieces, out of the more than 200 compositions I have recorded I would say I have about 5 or 6 pieces that really satisfy my inner critic. The creative process differs for different pieces. Most recently I have been recording solo piano improvisations, where I just sit quietly at the piano, hit the record button and start playing. It is the luxury of having a recording studio at home. Most takes are discarded, but a few are worthy of being released on CD. For the more traditional CD where each song is “composed”, the process is a bit different. I start with a central melodic theme or chord progression, and work from there. Mostly, I try to convey a particular emotion or feeling with each song. Sometimes they develop a life of their own, and tell me where they want to go, sometimes I have to really hammer it out. On rare and wonderful occasions, some trigger in my life will lead me to sit down and have a fully developed piece just flow out.
We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?
I love the combination of music and other arts. Many people write me to say how the music has inspired them to create something, and many times I have looked at a piece of art and been inspired to compose a piece of music. I am especially drawn to the impressionist style of art, where colors blend and blur into each other.
Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?
For those wanting exposure to classical music, it has never been easier. Pick any streaming service and look at the available playlists. Classical for sleep, for study, for meditation, for cooking, for morning, for driving, big & bombastic, or soft and soothing….. the choices are endless.
For those wanting to learn to play, I would say to keep working at it. Practice, practice and more practice. Find a teacher who inspires you and tries to bring out your own creativity as well as learning the masters.
Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?
The changes in music consumption that make it so easy to listen to anything and everything are the same changes that make it harder for a musician to support themselves with their music. We all need to make a living, and music is a hard business to do it in. We are having to engage with our audiences more than ever, to share our music and hope they value it enough to continue listening, and share with others.
Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?
First and foremost, my expectation is to be treated with respect. Too many times I see negative things written or said about a performance, song or artist.
The old adage “If you cannot say something nice, do not say anything at all” is still good advice, but social media has made it easy to forget that simple life lesson. Second, I think the performing artist should have the audiences’ complete attention while playing. Third, I would hope that people are at your performance because they love what you are playing and how you are playing it.
What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?
I am working on a 4 CD series of improvised solo piano works to correlate with the 4 seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. I have released Winter and Spring is scheduled for release in April. This will all be released over the next year, one per season. It has been great fun working on this project. I also ventured into a new realm by recording an ambient music cd last year.