BY NICOLE TJ AND THOMAS LO
Melbourne ensemble anon. takes its first international trip, giving a TEDx talk and exploring life in New York City. Musicians Nicole Tj and Thomas Lo share their experiences of the Big Apple with CutCommon readers. You can see anon. live at the Melbourne Recital Centre later this month.
New York City is one of a kind – a culture of new and old; future and forgotten. We embarked on our first international trip as anon. – with the intention of bringing a new perspective to an old art form, to an innovative speaker series in one of the oldest towns in Washington D.C., Foggy Bottom.
First stop: NYC. Lined with huge brick buildings, dotted with bright yellow traffic lights, bustling with traffic and people in all directions, New York City is as fast-paced as it gets. The days leading up our TEDx presentation were spent editing, re-editing and rehearsing the speech, while soaking in as much of NYC as we could. Central Park, MoMA, Times Square, World Trade Centre, Lincoln Centre…the list is endless! We were lucky to have scored an Airbnb art loft in prime location – where the owners were deeply involved in arts, culture and technology. And of course, we were stoked to be amongst some of the best music schools in the world – where we had masterclasses at the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes School of Music, with Head of Keyboard Dr Marc Silverman and ex-Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Ziegler respectively.
A three-hour train ride away, Washington DC is much more composed, exuding a captivating grandeur. Lined with black traffic lights and magnificent white walls, endless monumental buildings sit side by side, horizontally spanning across the city. TEDxFoggyBottom 2016 was an incredible a one-day event – a 1500-strong audience and 20 speakers that ranged from the resilient Chief Strategy Officer of RSA, to an impressively articulate slam poetry champion. To the theme of ‘Think Next’, we explored the perceptions of classical music, shared our take on the potential of the live concert experience, performed Trailer Music and screened the film. The crowd was welcoming; the response unexpectedly, yet genuinely enthusiastic. The TEDxFoggyBottom team – all students from the George Washington University – could not have done a better job in pulling off such a high calibre event.
For us, it was a learning opportunity, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience of being involved in the greater movement of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. More importantly, it proved that our work and ideas from other side of the world also have the potential to resonate with a wider, international audience.