Happy High Status: on meeting a hero

After Jonathan Leathwood’s outstanding debut at London’s Wigmore Hall earlier this week, I was lucky enough to meet a hero — the guitarist Julian Bream, one of the great figures in the rebirth of the guitar as an instrument taken seriously in the world of classical music.

Julian Bream

His charitable trust was sponsoring and promoting the concert, but here he was, patiently waiting in the (slow) queue to speak to Jonathan in the green room. We talked about the concert, and the inspiring musicianship we’d all experienced. It took my suggestion, followed by some persuasion from his minder, for him to jump the queue to congratulate the artist and stand for the inevitable photographs — he was quite prepared to wait uncomfortably with us all on the narrow backstage stairs.

This is what improv teacher Tom Salinsky calls “happy high status” — the ability to raise the status of those around you without diminishing your own. Heaven knows, there are plenty of assholes in all fields of music, but it seems to me that many of the truly great are at ease with their status and don’t feel the constant need to prove to themselves and others that they’re the top honcho, instead sharing their status and making everybody around them feel good. It’s a lesson in modest greatness that many in the increasingly shrill world of lean/agile software would do well to learn

3 Responses to “Happy High Status: on meeting a hero”

  • George responded:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful encounter with Julian Bream. He’s also been a hero of mine since I started playing classical guitar in college. While I’m sad that he’s no longer playing guitar in public, I’m happy that he’s still attending concerts and engaging with his fans.

  • Paul Weaver responded:

    Always wonderful to hear news about Julian Bream. Some of his more recent compositions have been wonderful. What an artist.

    Thanks for the article.
    Paul Weaver
    Lamare Guitars

  • David responded:

    Thanks, George, Paul - always good to meet one’s heroes. Compositions, Paul?

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