Jim Papoulis - Artistic Statement

As a composer I want to explore what makes us human; what makes us considerate; what makes us accepting of others. Through my work, I travel to many parts of the world and work with young people from all different backgrounds. The focus of my work is primarily to write music that captures the voices of youth, the thoughts of youth, the hopes of youth -- their inner strength woven into the lyrics and rhythms.

When I was first asked to compose music for youth choirs, I attended many concerts to learn more about young people -- what they were singing, what they weren't singing, what might work with their voices. I began a journey that quickly evolved into hundreds of workshops; I asked young singers what they liked about music, what made them passionate about music, what moved them, and what they identified with. I was struck with their desire to break from tradition - to explore worlds of helping others - to share their inner voices - to fuse rhythms and chants and body percussion together with lyrics and melodies that were fun to sing, and that meant something to them. That was the main focus of what they wanted -- for the text to mean something to them, and offer something they could relate to. All of my music for children's choir is sung from the vantage point of the person singing it -- the young people. I do my best to write music that answers that desire -- something meaningful that they can relate to -- and something that can expand their horizons, both lyrically and musically.

Through my workshops, I have had the opportunity to work in both affluent and very underprivileged communities. I've tried to learn what the answer is to breaking from the propagation of any extreme, be it wealth or poverty, and find a way to bring us all to common ground as human beings. Education, music, kindness, encouragement, role models, and community involvement are often at the forefront of finding those solutions. Music, especially in a young person's life, can be a bridge to self empowerment, self esteem, cooperation, commitment, and discipline.

Music is my passion, and music as a vehicle for the creation of a better world is my life's mission. Through the Foundation for Small Voices, we strive to raise awareness and funds for music programs that are suffering, and communities that are without music programs altogether. I firmly believe in the power of music to engage, empower, and inspire young people, and I am dedicated to making joyful and creative musical experiences available to as many young people as possible, and to continue to explore musical worlds that can bridge communities and differences.