Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Playing Classical Music in Non-Standard Venues

I was surfing the web for recent news in the classical music world when I came across this interesting article of how classical music groups in the Baltimore area are performing their music in non-standard venues such as bars, public parks, open houses, and other areas. I found the article very intriguing as I saw the immediate potential of this for classical musicians.

A striking part of the article that I read mentioned a musician that stated that the raised stage of the standard concert hall places musicians on a different level than the audience. He goes on to say that when classical musicians play in venues in which they are close to the audience and the stage is not raised, the artist is taken off the "pedestal" and is consequently made more accessible to the average concert goer.

This reminds me of one of my most memorable moments from my undergraduate music career, when I performed in an art gallery. The College of Wooster was known for its undergraduate research program in which seniors take on an independent study project and work throughout their senior year on the said project. At the end of the year, the seniors present their research on a certain day. As a performance major, my senior thesis just involved preparing to give a senior recital. Being that I was one of the only senior music performance majors at the school, I was asked to play a piece from my program (a duet with a violinist) at the school's art gallery while the art majors presented their senior projects.

This memory not only resonated with me because of the great acoustics of the gallery, but also because I was able to perform for a more diverse crowd. I feel that this performance also was able to give proper representation to the music department, more importantly classical music as a whole.  In addition, I felt a strong sense of freedom with the audience, as this was distinctly not a music hall.  This could further lead to more performances of its kind.

This article gives me hope for classical musicians; it proves that there are more venues to play at than the "hall".  I for one would enjoy going to a bar and seeing a performance of Ravel's string quartet. Although it would be difficult to change the perception of classical music as a sacred art only performed in a concert hall, I believe that with time we can change that image. As with a multitude of things, this change will have to start with the generation. But honestly, who doesn't want to see a live performance of a Mahler symphony at a local pub?

No comments: