Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.

Plato

Time to rethink Swarovski

I’ve have always seen the Swarovski shops in airports and just thought – ‘oh, yeah, fancy shmancy coloured glass jewellery’…but, oh wow, there’s a lot more to it.

At the weekend I played in a couple of concerts at Thomas Larcher’s festival, Musik am Riesen (Music in the Giant) in a town called Wattens in Austria where I was seriously re-educated about Swarovski. It’s genius! There is the fairytale story of a young Daniel Swarovski who travels from his native Bohemia in 1895 to start a small business cutting crystals, not out of glass, but with a unique and secret compound that reflects and refracts light and colour like no other substance, and over the course of a century and five generations, it turns into a huge global brand, employing 30,000 people. But there is also, more interesting for me, the fact that this company is still really crazy about beauty and creativity. They have built a ‘Giant’, whose head lies above ground, and through whose body you walk to see a mind-blowing exhibition underground including installations by Brian Eno and Alexander McQueen and many other talented individuals.

Kristallwelt

They invest millions (literally), and countless hours/weeks/months building new technology to make breathtaking things with crystals. It was such a joy. I can’t recall having come across that marriage of successful business and commitment to art and imagination before, and I left feeling so inspired.

The concerts were great, and hospitality second to none, but how wonderful for an artist to leave a place feeling that he’s been given a gift of art.

Live the Dream Live the Dream