Stephen Nachmanovitch is an improvisational violinist who performs and teaches internationally at the intersections of multimedia, performing arts, ecology, and philosophy. He has taught workshops from Germany to Japan to Argentina. He is the author of the classic book Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, which has reached its 30th year of publication with more than 200,000 copies sold.
With a wryness that is all his own, author states at the outset of this new book:
"Improvising means coming prepared, but not being attached to the preparation. Everything flows into the creative act in progress."
Later, he adds:
"Art is the act of balancing: knowing what to prepare, what to leave to the moment, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Those who love and cherish music, art, science, politics, business, philosophy, and poetry know in their hearts and souls that improv is the vital essence of creativity, fueled by imagination. No wonder Margaret Mead, the always curious anthropologist, could surmise:
"I am interested in what happens to people who find the whole of life so rewarding that they are able to move through it with the same kind of delight in which a child moves through a game."
Nachmanovitch gives us plenty of evidence that play is the exuberant expression of our being. It is at the heart of our fascination with wonder, paradox, and mystery.
We recommend that you immerse yourself in The Art of Is. The table of contents alone will spark your imagination. What will he do with knobs and dials, finger-kissing, bedtime stories, frogs, rubbing, mushrooms and tide pools, wabi-sabi, cloud of companions, and heart sword? We predict you'll come away convinced that improv can be your way of life too.