We had the good fortune of connecting with Joseph Ehrenpreis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joseph, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
In any artistic practice, wisdom becomes the collection of new ideas relating to old ideas. Like a callous, it becomes dense, strong, yet amiable when needed. I came to realize for myself, the retention of child-like wonder in my practice and approach brings me more joy, and allows me to express untold truths to my audience and fans.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a child, I was always a little bit odd. I’m ambidextrous, so I would play tennis with my left hand, write with my right hand, and ride my bike one handed with my left hand. It was perplexing, I believe that basic diverse mechanism in my day-to-day processing translated to my creative process. I’ve always tried to solidify what movements should be dictated by my right or left hand. What goes where? And with what?
As a musician, I came to realize, early on, that I should utilize my strengths in categorical information retention and translate them into choreography, and tactile prowess on my instrument. My process has grown and changed over the years, but when I receive a new score, I often spend the first few days figuring out the most fluid arrangement of my hands to achieve the desired mood, articulation, and phrase of the music. (The sound of the music in my head.)
I have accepted my willingness to engage with the mysterious and the unknown. It can be painful to touch uncharted territories, especially under the heated pressure of society and institutions, but I am accepting of it. The wonder to understand and beautify the stimuli unfolding before you are of your greatest strengths. Be your own Curious George today!
In the coming year, I’m working hard to develop not only as a musician, but also as a creative director and innovator for my Tokyo-based artist collective Muditā, with conductor Ryo Hasegawa. Muditā will act as a resource and festival for artistic expression, from the desire to spread empathy through the arts. The arts can be healing, invigorating, inspiring, and everything in between.
Ryo and I are also working on a LARGE project to showcase contemporary guitar concertos in a new concert context. For the project, we are working on putting together a 90-minute, multi-sensory narrative experience with audience interaction. We are acting as soloists (guitar and conductor) as well as co-producers, writers, and choreographers for the show. We are actively searching for funding for composer commissions, and for management.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If you had a day in LA with great company, what places would you explore?
I’m going to limit this question down to a day, because I think I can craft a miniature better than a roadmap.
If we only had one day to gorge in the vast food oasis of LA, I’d chose three spots
#1 Sulga House of Beef Bone Soup – If you are a vegan/vegetarian, don’t get put off by the name of this restaurant, the owner is so hard working and courteous to veggie folks, I know because I am one. The food is just out of this world, piping hot and full of amazing flavors and aromas. I can’t even imagine what the meat dishes must taste like. Go for it!!
Head north and go to
#2 M Street Coffee in North Hollywood, grab a large latte and go for a walk along the riverwalk here. It’s peaceful and never crowded. It’s a great way to find pockets of nice buildings in North Hollywood, and a great excuse to be around for when comedy shows begin in the early evening at the Comedy Chateau and the Ha Ha.
End your night back in Ktown at
#3 Dan Sung Sa – this place has an amazing atmosphere with low light and an Izakaya-style skewer menu. The beer on tap is crisp and delicious too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to a children’s story by a Swedish writer, Marcus Pfister. The story is “The Rainbow Fish” and it was a pivotal book in my early childhood. The premise of the book is that there is a fish more beautiful than the rest in the ocean, adorned in rainbow scales. Little monochromatic fish in the community approach the rainbow fish, and ask if they could please have a scale to share in its beauty. The rainbow fish declines their advances in a smug fashion, wanting to hold all of the beauty to itself. As a result, the community shuns the rainbow fish, and it swims sadly alone. In an effort of despair, it seeks out help from the most brilliant of the cephalopods, the octopus. With the wisdom of its new 8-tentacled mentor, the rainbow fish returns to the community and gives away its scales one-by-one. As a result, the whole community of fish shimmers in beautiful rainbow scales, and together, they live happily in their pocket of the ocean.
I believe this story is relevant to our current circumstances in the world. 2020 and the beginning of 2021 have been a tough, grueling wasteland, but we are on the cusp of an arts renaissance. Together, we can foster uplifting communities of artists, banded together by our combined vision to share beauty and fresh perspective in the world. As a community, collaboratively, I believe that together, we can swim as a school of rainbow fish.