David Bacon grew up in the San Francisco Area possessing exceptional genes. David’s father, American composer, Ernst Bacon, was a recipient of three Guggenheim Fellowships and a Pulitzer Award for his numerous bodies of works including symphonies, piano concertos, chamber music, ballets, and more than 250 songs, as well as several books about music.
David’s father was lifelong friends, with famous photographer, Ansel Adams. Ernst and Ansel shared a love of music and mountaineering, along with a passionate concern for the environment. With their many combined talents, these two men were the Renaissance Men of their time period. David recalls how sad his father was at the death of Ansel Adams in 1984, and he remembers his dad composing an elegy “Remembering Ansel Adams” as a tribute to him.
Adding to his extraordinary music lineage was his aunt, Madi, who was the Founder of the San Francisco Bay Chorus, and his mother, Ellen who is a gifted soprano and music teacher and now the President of the Ernst Bacon Society.
After David’s graduation from Syracuse University, the Rocky Mountains called to him, and he made Colorado his home. For David, having traveled around the word to over 35 countries (all offering eye-opening experiences) by the ripe old age of 35 is an accomplishment in itself. David has spent time with numerous people from different cultures, many of them from less developed countries; and he loves the great beauty and simplicity of the people he has met. David isn’t shy and loves to converse with people. He seems to have a bright, optimistic outlook on life – even though he knows the hardships many in our world are facing. He believes strongly that by sharing our talents, we can bring forth peace through the universal language of music.
Along with his job as the Managing Partner with the Remy Corporation, a successful consulting and staffing firm David is helping to launch Crowd Factor, a mobile campaign and communications management platform. Most rewarding perhaps is the time he has taken to get involved with several non-profit organizations. David calls himself an “octopus” with many arms reaching out in different directions.
One of his top priorities is working with the organization/foundation “Playing for Change.” David was one of the Executive Producers for the film “Playing for Change: Peace Through Music” a ‘musical exploration documentary’ that shows how the world is connected through music. Created by filmmakers, Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls, and produced by Whitney Kroenke Burditt (of the Kroenke family), the film won 3rd place at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The Playing for Change Foundation is involved in building and supporting a music school in Guguletu, South Africa. When it is done, it will offer the township’s young people an alternative to the violence and deprivation they face daily. They are also rebuilding and enhancing Tibetan refugee centers in Dharamsala, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal. The centers provide food, medical care and shelter to Tibetans as they begin their lives in exile. In addition, the Foundation Supports the Mehlo Arts Center in Johannesburg, and the neighboring township of Soweto, in South Africa. The center brings together writers of poetry, drama, prose, screenwriting, critical analysis, essay writing and more. The school will invite artists from around the world to Johannesburg, providing students the opportunity to learn directly from writers in the global literary community.
David and his wife, Heather, are also involved with the “O’Brien School for the Maasai,” which was founded by Heather and her mom, Kellie, and the “Gabby Krause Foundation” (see more information on these non-profits in David’s answers below).
It’s plain to see that David Bacon has some kind of amazing balancing act going on - which extends to his marriage, charitable commitments, businesses, and now – with the addition of his new beautiful baby boy, Benjamin, Bacon seems to be enjoying the most exciting and exhilarating time of his life.
Here’s a guy that goes with his vibes and impulses to make something happen, by taking advantage of the moment as it presents itself. He’s kindhearted, compassionate and astute at business at the same time. As a businessman/entrepreneur, he brings zeal and gusto to his work.
David Ernst Bacon is one of the new "Renaissance Men" of our ages. We can assume he will keep on moving forward, working hard, and sharing his passion for life, music – and the possibility of real peace with everyone who crosses his path.
David is a man in motion with a broad and comprehensive knowledge base that has come from all of his enlightened experiences. David says he’d like to “freeze frame” every moment. David, we can’t wait to see what else will emerge from your enthusiasm, spontaneity and extraordinary talents – as well as your love for life.
How did you get involved with “Playing for Change”? About 3 ½ years ago, a good friend of mine, Greg Johnson, asked me if I would be interested in helping to finance and produce a film that his brother, Mark Johnson, was directing. It was one of the easiest and most natural decisions I have ever made, and since then the film and our foundation, have opened tremendous doors for me. The Film is an important documentary that is powerful and moving; it’s a musical exploration that takes the viewer across the globe and shows how the world is connected through music. It shows how conflict can be mitigated through music, how musical inspiration can foster peace. It was recently in the Tribeca Film Festival and is currently in the Jerusalem Film Festival. It is for the viewer very personal, and touching, and certainly inspiring - it represents a movement about music that is far-reaching and ambitious. From the film we started a Foundation to give back to the communities of the musicians in our film – helping to foster more musical inspiration in less-fortunate areas of the world. We have recently completed our fist music school in Gugulethu, South Africa, and have plans to build more as our Foundation grows, really as our movement grows.
What other non-profit organizations are you involved with? I am also involved in the advocacy of my father’s music. That is the Ernst Bacon Society, www.ernstbacon.org. My father was born in 1898, and was an incredibly gifted pianist and composer. My mother, Ellen Bacon, works tirelessly to promote his legacy and his music, and we work together to help put his music on the map.
I recently returned from another part of Africa – Tanzania, where I’m a board member of the O’Brien School for the Maasai, a school that my wife, Heather, and her mother, Kellie, founded two years ago after my wife and I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. www.obrienschool.org. When I was there, we completed the library, built a women’s center, cataloged thousands of books and other donations that we distributed from the contents of two large shipping. It was amazing to see the Maasai community embrace this school; they beam with pride – from the elders to the toddlers, the gift of education is extraordinary.
I am also involved with the Gabby Krause Foundation. http://www.bagsoffun.org/ My wife’s dear friend Tammy started the Foundation after her daughter, Gabby, died at the age of 6 after a long battle with brain cancer. Gabby had this amazing vision that kids in other situations like hers would have ‘bags of fun’ and in the face of such adversity, to ‘grip it and rip it’, and the Foundation has experienced tremendous growth in providing these bags of fun to families and children and you can’t imagine how warmly these gifts are rec’d, and I think it’s testament that laughter and fun and smiles can truly be medicinal.
You have traveled to so many wonderful places, what is your favorite place of all? Thank you, many have said that, and I’m proud to have traveled where I have, although I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the planet yet really. I most enjoy those places less glamorous, more adventurous, and with great character and geography and just a certain zeal in the people. I think I probably felt that most strongly in Cuba, where I have been twice, and New Zealand was amazing. I feel grateful to be in Kansas when I’m there though, really, I have so many favorite places.
Wow, you have quite the musical family. Did you feel a lot of pressure as a child to success in the field of music? I wouldn’t say that I necessarily felt pressure, but I certainly felt great presence. My father was so accomplished, and my mother had also dedicated her life to music as well. I think I probably have great potential, but I have never had the discipline to practice, and to really have success in music you have to find the dedication from your heart, and persevere through times of uncertainty. All these ‘p’ words… pressure, presence, potential, practice, persevere… all quite powerful I’d say. Playing for Change: Peace Through Music, the film, as really provided me my outlet for music… ?
Speaking of which, can you share with us one of your favorite childhood memories? I am so grateful to have grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and to have such an amazing group of friends and surroundings and such a supportive family. There were times when my buddies would sneak upstairs when my father was just pounding on his Steinway Grand Piano and we’d hide under the piano and watch his feet on the pedals and listen intently… whether it be a simple harmony, or a complex piece, those were amazing memories, to share them with buddies was just so epic too – anytime we get together we reflect on legendary moments like that; they are like frozen frames in time for me.
What is something no one knows about you? I lay it all out there really… it’s funny I can’t think of anything really. If it’s a skeleton I’ve probably buried it… ? Things are so candid with me really, it would have to be something subconscious I haven’t put my finger on either. Everybody I know knows something pretty intimate about me really, so I don’t know what I don’t know. I look forward to finding out though…
How can we as a community do a better job at instilling the right values and ethics in our kids today? I think constant reinforcement and recognition is essential. We can all level the playing field in exposing accomplishments with the reach of the internet, and the adoption of social networking tools. Harnessing recognition for our kids will encourage them to inspire themselves, to really find their vocation in life. Good values and ethics are different amongst cultures, but in our culture I think that kids will find ‘good’ values and ethics if they’re positioned to find their vocation – that which is most rewarding to them.
As a new Dad, aside from the diaper changes and not getting any sleep, how else has your life changed? I get this whole new opportunity to live young again… being goofy and silly is essentially part of my new job description.
Will you be taking as many risks as you have in the past? I have always been a calculated risk taker… many would say I take pretty big risks, but they’re all calculated. I think I’ll re-calculate the risks more, kind of like changing the scale a bit to favor being more conservative, but without compromising thrill and chance.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was so rewarding, but it’s tough to single one accomplishment. Kilimanjaro wasn’t so tough, but I did it with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, and I think it was from that trip that we wanted to walk more on earth and in life than Kilimanjaro. It’s obviously lead to much more, and I think a great accomplishment to be the start of something, not the culmination of something.
Who is your hero? My heroes change… right now it’s my wife and she’s in a select group of repeat heroes. My son’s delivery was the epitome of traumatic, and she’s my hero for delivering my son.
What is the best advice your Dad/Mom ever gave you? Find your vocation. I think I’m still in pursuit of what my vocation in life is, but the pursuit in and of itself is vitally important for my constitution. I think that from where I sit now, my vocation is to bring the best out of others, and while that may sound pretty broad for a ‘vocation’, it feels right to apply that approach to everything I do and say.
In your opinion, what makes someone a good parent? Being there. If you’re there, and present, that’s a good parent.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be? Not waste some of it… time that is. I’d do just what I did that I’m most proud of, just do more of it. Anything I regret, or got in trouble for, I wouldn’t do differently…
Is there somewhere other than Denver you would like to live? Maybe someday? I feel so grateful to have found such a great place for my ambitions in Denver. I can’t think of a day when I haven’t felt positive waking up to the energy of this city, but I have thought of having other homes elsewhere, or temporarily relocating for a few years out of the country, but I always come back to Denver and Colorado in my head…
At this stage of your life, what could you be the “poster boy” for? Spontaneity… I have a certain ‘Carpe Diem’ M.O. that is in me… either that, or I’m the poster boy for the human octopus, I have my tentacles in a lot of things that inspire me.
What do you aspire to do in the next 10 years? What are you most excited about? Fatherhood has consumed me already… I’m most excited about providing a fantastic life for my family.
How do you want to be remembered? I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by so many inspirational people, and I think I’d like to be remembered for being inspired by them so that anyone who remembers me know that they were more than just a part of me, that they made me bettered. I’d like to be remembered as sort of a conductor of enlightenment, a catalyst of betterment who was made better by those he met and knew. I don’t know how important it is to be remembered, as it is to be inspired, but they work together pretty well wouldn’t you say?