Active Listening is a series that unites composers with audiences who care about social justice. The goal of this commissioning/performance/video/article series is to inspire empathy, educate listeners, and offer steps to actively support each cause. Each composer chooses to address a social justice issue they feel passionate about, and with each installment released on the digital magazine I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, actions which listeners can take are provided. Each online installment features a performance video of the commissioned solo piano work as well as a video interview with the composer. Live performances are given to raise support and awareness for the causes/organizations chosen by the composers. Audio tracks have been made available for download on Bandcamp with all proceeds going to support these charitable organizations.
Active Listening was launched in October 2018 at Spectrum in Brooklyn featuring world premieres of commissioned works by Marcos Balter, David Smooke, Natalie Draper, Judah Adashi, Ledah Finck, Wendel Patrick, Frances Pollock, Ari Sussman, Shelley Washington, and Zhangyi Chen. These composers chose to address the topics of climate change, gun control, immigrant children, homelessness, challenges of people of color in higher academia, deforestation, the Baltimore Ceasefire, hate speech, the school-to-prison pipeline, and willingness to listen to those with divergent views or backgrounds. The online series debuted on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN in December 2018. Each installment of this 10-part performance video and interview series was released on the first Wednesday of each month through September 2019. Active Listening has been funded by an award from the Presser Foundation.