The Concert of Ideas


Thoroughly original in concept, the Concert of Ideas is a spark to new thinking, wholehearted engagement and a powerful catalyst for change

“If I ever had doubts about the power of the arts on business executives, my work with John Cimino and Creative Leaps International at McDonnell Douglas and SC Johnson put those doubts to rest. ”


Frank Bordonaro
Chief Learning Officer - McDonnell Douglas, S.C. Johnson
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The Concert of Ideas

This state of the art keynote event embodies a set of artful triggers to set minds and hearts in curious exploratory motion. Participants are royally entertained. Simultaneously, they are invited to think deeply, to entertain new perspectives and, ultimately, to enter into thoughtful dialogue with one another. Thoroughly original in concept and execution, the Concert of Ideas is a spark to new thinking, wholehearted engagement and a powerful catalyst for change.

Featuring grand, exciting and absolutely brilliant music performed by our award-winning artists, the Concert of Ideas IS a world-class concert performance. Music by composers such as Copland, Bernstein, Gershwin and Rachmaninoff and Broadway showstoppers galore are essential ingredients of the Concert of Ideas.

But there is more. Woven through the music and creatively juxtaposed to leverage our imaginations, audiences discover equally brilliant contributions from thinkers such as Einstein, Picasso, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Margaret Mead, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. The resultant whirlwind of connective possibilities is nothing short of exhilarating. Mind, intellect, heart and soul are activated and propelled along personal journeys of exploration.

The goal? To help each and every participant access multiple creative connections, deeper personal insights and rich new solutions to the challenges at hand.

Creative Leaps and the Concert of Ideas are examples of how you use advanced thought and out-of-the-box thinking to create new paradigms of action.”

Herbert Tillery, Deputy Mayor for Operations, Washington D.C. and Former Director, Center for Excellence in Municipal Management (CEMM)

In our world, the arts are no longer some parallel experience you have along the way, but rather a powerful source of insight and transformation feeding directly into the thinking, feeling and acting of daily life, full of possibility, truth and optimism.
In our world, music is never just music. It is revolutionary! It is the sound of ideas!

Why does it work?

Our Concerts of Ideas are based on more than 30 years of research and development in arts-based methodologies for enhancing, accelerating and leveraging academic and professional performance.

The design of the Concert of Ideas is grounded in two principles for maximizing connectivity, one at large scales, one at small. The large scale principle is simple interdisciplinarity or "thinking across boundaries", for example, linking the arts and sciences, the arts and business, or performance and pedagogy, thereby enabling the essential connections between the music we perform and the concepts we address through the music, our spoken commentary and selected quotations. At smaller scales, and indeed the fine structure of the Concert of Ideas, we employ a principle we have dubbed "creative juxtaposition", that is, the process by which we sequence the performance elements comprising the Concert of Ideas. Each performance piece in the sequence defines in its own right one or more directions of exploration but also serves as a kind of lens through which we see and anticipate whatever comes next. We play with this sequencing to create just the right mix of logic, satisfaction, and surprise. As you might expect, the element of surprise or what we call "learning by surprise", is exceedingly important in maintaining the emotional energy and overall trajectory of the Concert of Ideas.

Maximizing connectivity and optimizing the element of surprise, are together powerful tools for designing an experience where the most important thinking occurs in the minds of the participants, not the performers. This, of course, is our goal.

There are certainly other factors which contribute to the successful outcome of our Concerts of Ideas. First among them are the performance skills and musical gifts of our world class artists. They are winners of more than 60 national and international awards and prizes who have performed to acclaim in scores of countries around the globe. These same artists are also world class communicators and truly accessible, wonderful people. One-on-one or across the footlights, they know how to reach out warmly and authentically to people from all walks of life, across cultures and generations.

The Creative Leaps team.

Thank you for completing what we had started with such beauty and inspiration that so many people were lifted to a place of hope and peace that they had not dared to imagine for some 24 long months.”

Laura Olson, Research Scientist - The George Washington University Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." —  Albert Einstein