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Creativity: BU's Moises Fernandez Via demonstrates how healing is collaborative

Moises Fernandez Via believes in artistic collaboration
Moises Fernandez Via believes in artistic collaboration
Jesse Weiner Boston University

“In the creative process you learn by paying attention to life…and how it works,” says world famous pianist, Moises Fernandez Via, about his creative process. Moises explains that just as in life people make mistakes and learn from them, in the creative process artists can consider new directions for their art to take as a result of what begins as a mistake. Moises describes such an experience that occurred while he was working with a lighting technician for his project that would combine different lighting scenarios with music. Once, during an important scene in the performance, he asked the technician to change the light in a certain way that would be appropriate for the music. The technician accidentally flipped the switch so that it lit up the room with small candelabra. Though he had not planned for it, Moises instantly knew that this perfectly complimented the piece of music and used it in the final performance of his project.

The project arose when Moises’s friend showed him a landscape that exhibited the qualities of light and dark. Again, although he had not planned to create a musical performance centered on light and dark, once he experienced the creative potential for such a performance, he embraced it. For Moises, art does not exist in a vacuum with a perfect, unchangeable shape but is a product of experience. He explains that thinking in terms of right and wrong in relationship to art results from an “overly moralistic society” which bifurcates “good and evil.” In truth, Moises argues, life is much more complicated. An artist’s creativity is marked by how the artist responds to experiential impulses and how the artist channels them in his or her creative endeavors. For this reason, Moises explains that he prefers to interpret art in terms of consequences. A piece of art can unfold in a plethora of different directions, but it is the way in which an idea immediately begets another idea and forms a certain direction that distinguishes art.

Still, Moises insists that his interpretation of art does not render him a renegade. Rather, he alters the standard classical performance because he believes that is it true to the art, not because he wants to revolt against the traditional performance. He explain that “you can’t create anything without knowing who you are and knowing who you are means being honest with your emotions. This intellectual and emotional honesty as an artist is really what I try to put in everything." He wouldn't feel like he was being honest if the music was presented in an insufficient manner.

In terms of his creativity, Moises describes the experience as losing perception of his self and his awareness, to the point that he forgets his own name. But this experience is not the artist's ultimate goal. Rather, the artist's objective is to transform his "individual ability" into collective opportunity, Moises presents the decision as follow: “when you experience the creative process you have two choices. You can lock it is a prison and entitle it or you can just embrace it and engage in it.” He chooses the latter option because “It is difficult for me to have this entitlement. I think it would prevent me from discovering all [of creativity’s] dimensions and all its possibilities.”

Moises currently employs this creativity in his position as Project Curator and Researcher for the Arts Outreach Initiative, an innovative partnership between Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Medical Campus. According to the Boston University website, he is the master collaborator as “CFA’s liaison in the Medical Campus identifying, developing and implementing opportunities to foster interdisciplinary dialogue, building productive relationships between artistic creativity and health care practice.”

Following the Marathon bombing event, where 23 victims were treated, Moises coordinated numerous events with “citizen artists,” Moises increased the number of concerts intensely in response to the tragedy. Concerts were held in the atrium but then mainly on the 7th floor where BMC’s surgical unit treated many victims. Moises described how he brought six concerts every day in three different spaces of the hospital. Every day he left with the conviction that the hospital was “absolutely a place for music — and that’s where the art should be: where life is and where people are struggling and where people are having lots of questions and not really any answers.” He considers it an opportunity to witness people taking their first steps coping with their personal suffering. He states: “it’s a privilege to say that some of these patients did that not with an empty silence but with the rhythm and the melody or the harmony of a Bach Suite.”

Listen to Boston’s WBUR report:

This is just one collaborative effort in his career. Another innovative projects in collaboration with outstanding artists from the international resources is his presentation DIWAN, a ghazi in two acts, an experimental performance piece featuring a collaboration between artist and a group of patients from the Refugee Clinic, Cancer Center and Neurology at Boston Medical Center: The piece, written and directed by Moises, features Andalusian poetry, Spanish piano and Sephardi music, flamenco, contemporary dance and theater, and according to Moises, "a garden for the senses."

To view this piece go to:

His first attempt at creating a role for the arts in society of endeavor occurred from his volunteer efforts at the Oncology Department of the Vall d’Hebron Children’s Hospital in Barcelona. Here he founded in 2003 the project “Música a l’Hospital“, which became the ever first cultural initiative in a clinical setting all over Spain. Here he began to institute his vision of the arts as only meaningful if presented as a collective opportunity. In his own words his credo presents “”art as awareness and commitment, as expression when words fail in front a world threatened by human and ecological conflicts.”

Born in Barcelona on 1980, Moisès is an active concert pianist, music curator and passionate writer. He began his musical education at the age of ten and was lauded only three years later by the press as “un nom qui’l faudrá retenir!” [a name to remember!] at his official début in the French city of Agen in 1993. He is a winner of the Scarlatti International Piano Competition in Naples (Italy) and the Richmond Piano Competition in Boston (USA). He was also a nominee for the Arthur W. Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association and a finalist for the Kahn Career Award. A regular guest at some of the finest concert halls and festivals, he has been heard in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Cyprus, Israel, the United States, Canada and China. Moisès holds degrees in piano, chamber music and conducting from the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, the Buchmann-Metha School of Music in Tel Aviv and the Boston University.

He will be a featured panelist at Brandeis University’s Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts at the Women’s Studies Research Center’s annual creativity panel, entitled “Creativity and Collaboration.” The event will be held at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday April 24 at 515 South Street, Waltham, MA, across the street from the Waltham Train station. The event is free and is wheelchair accessible.

Written with help from Joshua Koloski Brandeis '16

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