How do you organize your books?
I organize them in order of when I’ve most recently read them! Once they’re finished they’re on the shelf— you look at my bookshelf or bedside table and you have a perfect chronology of the books going into my brain.
Is community important to you? Where do you find your kindred spirits?
Community is extremely important to me. We rise in groups. We are best together when we encourage the best in each other. My kindred spirits are those who teach me, inspire me, and are excited by grey areas and uncharted territory. I try and surround myself with people who aren’t afraid of a little elbow grease and who believe in equality of opportunity, genre, and a culture in which boundaries can be fluid / nonexistent. I’ve met them everywhere — in the studio, in school, while traveling for fun, in my neighborhood coffee shop ... community is ever expanding and you get back what you give / are open to.
How can community support artists? What do you think the community of the future looks like?
I think a big step forward in supporting artists is valuing their contributions and work in a financially fair way. It’s too often artists are burning at both ends while not being able to support themselves. Institutions that purport to champion art / hire artists should pay for hours worked, not encourage artists to keep donating for exposure. I also think seeking variety in art and showcasing unheard voices is something that is essential for the future of the community. Representation is important.
What do you love about the LA Phil?
I love that the LA Phil has a notable commitment to featuring new work and being open to multi/cross genre music and art. Since I’ve lived in LA I have been very grateful for its Green Umbrella series, which commissions world premieres regularly from younger, innovative composers — a large and consistent platform for new voices that many orchestras don’t provide.
What grabs you about Yoko Ono’s work?
I love that it is created to be experienced and interpreted. Working closely with her music and art I’ve realized how it allows us all a large amount of room to digest and retell it without compromising the original intention. It’s pretty remarkable. There’s a universality in its message and something for everyone to engage with. It also shows us revolutions can form in simplicity and be seen in delicacy and beauty.
Shruti Kumar began her musical career at age 4 as a pianist, and began composing shortly thereafter. A freelance composer for film, multimedia, and theater her work has been used by/for The National Geographic, NPR, The United Nations, Josie Maran Inc., The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, FOX India, A24, The 2016 Summer Olympics, UNICEF, and The Nederlander Organization. Most recently she co-composed the score to Bollywood feature Hanuman Da Damdaar (dir. Ruchi Narain) and indie feature Trivia Night (dir. Robert Gregson).
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