Awestruck – a guest post by speaker and moderator Kit Baker

Once, on my way back to Scotland to finish my degree after spending the summer with my family in Fort Collins, I stopped at an arthouse cinema in London to see “Mirror” by the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. At first, things didn’t look so good. There were three people in the audience and my jet lag was seriously kicking in. Yet once the movie started, I was awestruck. I felt something I have never quite felt before or after: that, indeed, a mirror was being held up to my innermost self.

My fascination with Tarkovsky and his undying faith that art can change the world has been rooted deep down inside ever since (you can read my take on “Mirror” at 

But what hill of beans does that amount to in the city of Bikes, Beer and Bands? What do you do when you know about art and music that does not yet have a foothold in Fort Collins but can change lives – like “Mirror” changed mine? 

That’s my challenge: to increase the range and quality of art and music we create and have access to in Fort Collins. The kind that can truly change lives.

After three years of trying that were somewhere between John Cage’s “consider everything an experiment” and Samuel Beckett’s “Fail again. Fail better.”, there has finally been a breakthrough.  On February 28, thanks to LC Live and CSU (with an assist from yours truly), a quartet of woodwinds from the Brooklyn-based International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will play a concert here featuring modes of heightened listening conjured by outstanding women composers from both sides of the Atlantic – Anna Thorvaldsdottir (Ecological) and Pauline Oliveros (Deep). 

ICE started up with $603 in catering tips; today, thanks to a steadfast commitment to placing the artist entrepreneur at the heart of everything they do, they have 35 of the best young musicians in New York on their roster and a budget north of $2M. Two of those musicians will be in Artup Week talking about new digital tools and a research project that have applications both within and well beyond the music world. They will be joined by two experimental media artists and CSU lecturers talking about a digital tool of their own that lifts sounds to rarified heights and a transgender entrepreneur from Denver who is breaking astonishing new ground with the firm belief that anything is possible.

This encounter between local and global is a microcosm of the balance that invigorated my life and work in New York, London and Berlin – a balance I am now working to foster here in Fort Collins.

One of my favorite pieces of music is Ives’ “The Unanswered Question.” My career has been a million unanswered questions, through which artists have led me to places I never dreamed I could be.  Nothing means more to me than to be joined by friends in those places.  I hope to see you on this and many more creative adventures to come.

About Kit Baker

Kit Baker is an arts administrator, writer, and producer who has worked on both sides of the Atlantic.  In New York, he worked with artist entrepreneurs Michael Counts, an opera director, installation artist, and creator of large scale immersive theatre events, and MacArthur Fellow and Avery Fisher Prize-winning flutist Claire Chase, founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble.  In London UK, he worked with Pierre Audi at the Almeida Theatre to resource productions and performances by Tilda Swinton, Yuri Lyubimov, Astor Piazzolla, Philip Glass, Phelim McDermott, Deborah Warner, Toru Takemitsu and dozens more.  As a development professional, he has raised millions of dollars for the Tate Gallery, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc, Aperture Foundation, Cunningham Dance Foundation, GAle GAtes et al., Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and more. He was assistant director of the Jeff Award-winning TransformTheater Berlin on tour from Chicago to Siberia.

You can attend Kit’s panel Notes from the Field: Using Technology to Advance Artrepreneurship at 3PM Thursday, February 28 at Downtown Artery.

The Classical Convergence Series concert featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble will be Presented by LC Live & CSU Thursday February 28th at 7:30PM in the Organ Recital Hall at the University Center for the Arts.