For those in the classical music world, May 29, 1913 is a date etched into the collective consciousness. It was on the evening of that date, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, that Igor Stravinsky shocked the music world with his revolutionary ballet score of “Le Sacre du Printemps,” known in English as “The Rite of Spring.” That huge, loud, brassy orchestral score, with its pulsating rhythms and jagged sonorities—no one had heard anything quite like it before.
But even more than the music, it was the choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, the famed Russian dancer making his debut as a choreographer, that caused furious outrage in the audience. Those used to ballets like “Swan Lake” and “Coppélia,” with their elegant ballerinas in white tutus, daintily skittering across the stage, instead saw “peasants” in ragged clothing, making animalistic gestures as they mimed ritual human sacrifice.
As everyone in the classical music world knows, the ballet’s premiere caused a riot, with catcalls, fistfights, and near-chaos, in reaction to the “barbaric” dancing taking place on stage. Only the preternatural calm of conductor Pierre Monteux saved the premiere from collapsing entirely. Fortunately, subsequent performances of the ballet came off without scandal, and “Rite” entered the musical canon as the work that birthed modern music.
Similarly, Pablo Picasso’s painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” created a sensation in the art world, when it was exhibited at the Salon d’Antin in Paris in July 1916. Whereas “Rite” gave listeners jagged, violent sounds, “Les Demoiselles” gave viewers jagged, violent lines and colors, shocked art lovers to their core, and smashed traditional painting for good.
And yes, there was a similar moment in literature, when Irish writer James Joyce published his controversial novel Ulysses, a novel whose graphic sexual narrative got it censored and put on trial for obscenity, after it was published in 1922, but which ultimately was hailed as a transformative work of literature. And yes, these three seminal moments in the history of music, art, and literature, all happened within the space of a few years, in the first two decades of the 20th century.
The natural human reaction to all of these explosions in the arts worlds was of course something like, “Who knew???” And yet the beginning of the twentieth century was a time of tremendous ferment in the arts; new developments were taking place every day. And there were people who had a sense of where music, art, and literature were going, even if specific developments ended up being surprising to nearly everyone.
This speaks to the whole question of what it means to monitor the landscape of any field of endeavor for innovation and change. Anyone who isn’t living in a cave knows that the current environment of healthcare and healthcare IT is one of great ferment these days. It is challenging and exciting, and the pace of change right now is absolutely bracing.
In that context, it is our privilege and pleasure to once again present our annual cover story package on the Top Ten Tech Trends in U.S. healthcare. Clinical transformation, value-based care delivery and purchasing, iterative learning around big data, FHIR and interoperability—our list of Top Trends encompasses truly important waves of developments taking place right now in healthcare.
And blockchain—which was the talk of the annual HIMSS Conference in February—is a perfect example of a trend coming seemingly out of nowhere, but which fits perfectly into the overall trajectory of the healthcare system right now.
Please enjoy our Top Ten Tech Trends. We hope these analytical articles will be helpful to you. And keep a watch out for the next “Rite of Spring” moment in healthcare—it could be just around the corner, after all.