Author, Director Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University
Key points that you’ll learn from this interview:
- How making cards and gifts in his family growing up nurtured his belief in everyday creativity, which is why he still carries on this tradition in his family today.
- How business leaders can harness the dynamic tension between what’s familiar and what’s new to improve products and services.
- Examples of how to encourage creativity in the workplace, and when to recognize that you’ve gone too far and are making your people uncomfortable.
- The importance of creativity in your company’s culture, and whether to concentrate on a dedicated team or to imbue creativity throughout the culture.
Click to Read the Show Notes
1:08 Anthony describes one of the ways he and David co-author Eagleman initially connected.
1:41 How Anthony’s parents practice of restricting TV, and introducing construction materials, in the home encouraged his early creativity.
3:13 “From the moment I did something like playing the violin, I also wanted to make the music myself.”
4:15 Why hearing their piece rehearsed is such a joy for composers.
4:45 “David’s an amazing scientist. Not only does he do cutting edge research, but he’s also a best selling novelist.”
5:53 Bill tells off the collaborative efforts between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison
7:39 Why did Beethoven move to Vienna? – “He needed to be embedded in a culture in order to thrive as an individual creator.”
8:17 “There’s this virtuous loop between social engagement and the actions of our own imagination.”
10:06 Anthony describes the process of writing the book with David Eagleman.
10:38 “The only reason animals have memories is in order to better predict the future.”
11:01 [Exploration vs. Exploitation] – “Every animal. even if their in the most bountiful environment, they’ve got all the food they could ever want, will dedicate a certain amount of their life to exploring new environments.”
11:40 [The roots of creativity] – “Being able to think beyond the present moment and detach from reality and imagine alternative futures, that was where, evolutionarily, the seed of creativity was born.”
13:54 “It’s true that some examples of creativity exist in the wild, but they’re very anecdotal and they’re very limited.”
15:31 “[Creativity] is something that is absolutely normal. It is awe-inspiringly ordinary. “
16:55 Anthony’s steps for people who want to reconnect with their creativity. – “Whatever you can find that you can make yourself, do it yourself.”
18:29 “Creativity is too often presented as being all about novelty…human minds like to have one foot in the familiar and one foot in the unexpected.”
22:44 “One of the most dangerous concepts is that of the finish line.”
24:20 “How do you know when you’ve come up with a great idea?”
26:05 What companies can do to foster creativity in the workplace.
28:10 “There’s no doubt that creativity is risky.”
31:00 The importance of play not just for children, but for adults too.
33:13 Why composers are so deadline driven, and why it’s essential to create “intermediate deadlines” for yourself in the midst of a large project.
35:20 What Anthony uses to stay on track and productive.
37:12 “The smartest and the most successful people are the ones who are generating the most options.”
Composer Anthony Brandt is a Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Artistic Director of the award-winning contemporary music ensemble Musiqa. He and neuroscientist David Eagleman have co-authored “The Runaway Species: How Creativity Remakes the World” (“Essential and highly pleasurable reading”-Kirkus, “A refreshing and thought-provoking book”-Booklist ,”Beautifully produced, illustrated and written”–Nature). Dr. Brandt’s musical catalogue includes orchestral, chamber, vocal, theater, dance and television works, installation pieces and two chamber operas. Recordings of his music are available on the Albany and Crystal labels. His honors include a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, and the Houston Arts Alliance, and fellowships to the MacDowell and Djerassi arts colonies.
He has been a visiting composer at the Bremen Musikfest, the Universidad Veracruzana, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Baltimore New Chamber Festival, Cleveland State University and SUNY-Buffalo, and composer-in-residence of the International Festival of Music in Morelia, Mexico and Houston’s OrchestraX. Dr. Brandt has co-authored articles for the journals Frontiers and Brain Connectivity and is a contributing author to the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. He is also the author of the innovative free online music appreciation course “Sound Reasoning,” available at OpenStax.org. He is currently a co-investigator in a study of music and stroke recovery at Methodist Hospital’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine. Dr. Brandt has been awarded Rice University’s Phi Beta Kappa and George R. Brown Teaching Prizes.
For more information, visitAnthony Brandt’s Website.
Contact Info for Anthony Brandt
Web address: https://runawayspecies.com/
Travels from: Houston, TX
Phone: (646) 928-5999