I recently heard a musician say we leave classical music concerts reborn, if only for a moment. Having experienced this many times myself, I began thinking more deeply about the idea, and believe it applies to anytime we truly experience art.
Various dictionaries define “rebirth” as: Spiritual regeneration; new or second birth; renewed existence.
Having grown up with a mother and grandmother who were both amazing professional musicians, I began attending symphony concerts and operas at a very young age. Appreciative of all arts, my mother also took me to art museums every chance we had. While I may not have appreciated these excursions as a young, rambunctious boy focused on sports, I now realize it is one of the greatest gifts my mother could have possibly left me.
As I stare at a moving photograph or painting or listen to a great orchestra or choir, I am always transported and transformed. Art makes us better humans, even if for only a brief moment. How many times are we speechless leaving a concert hall having just experienced Beethoven, Mozart, or Rachmaninoff? Where are our words while standing before a Van Gogh, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Monet? These are moments that transcend words. These are experiences of our hearts and emotions not our brains.
This truth is almost undeniable. Mozart composed his Requiem in 1791. Leonardo da Vinci started painting the Mona Lisa in the early 1500s. Beethoven penned the Moonlight Sonata in the early 1800s. Why else would we still marvel at these and other great works of art hundreds of years later if they didn’t allow us to become better humans, even if only for that moment?
As the pace of life in the 21st century escalates seemingly on a daily basis, I often find myself missing the art around me. I live in a city filled with classical music, art, and some of the most amazing architecture ever built, but can easily pass an entire day focused only on the task at hand. If we are to be reborn, renewed, or spiritually regenerated we have to slow down and let it happen. We have to stop and allow art, whether old or new, to penetrate our souls and stir our emotions. If we are to become better members of this human experience we have to look and listen for more than a tweet or text. We must experience art.