Here is how I’d like to respond when someone asks: “What is chamber music?”
“Imagine that you’re in a space designed to beautifully transmit vibrations. You’re sharing that space with a handful of people, musicians who have spent decades refining and mastering their instruments or voices. They’re bringing to life the creations of some of the greatest creative human spirits, using the most perfectly designed acoustic tools. They produce vibrations, use them to communicate what is most poignant in the human condition; they shake the air to communicate with each other in an incredibly intimate way, and share their collective vibrations with you. You’re in this space, where honesty, generosity of spirit, a surfeit of beauty, are resonating like crazy. And you begin resonating with it all. Existence is laid bare and its secrets are revealed. What are we all sharing? That life is beauty, pain and joy are beauty, that things are more glorious than they seem, that we can share this beauty with each other in this way and so are not as alone as we secretly fear…”
But that might be awkward.
Typically, being asked to perform on a concert series involves individual preparation and group rehearsal time before walking out on stage – and hopefully accomplishing what’s written above once there. But there are countless other details that go into creating a memorable concert experience: choosing that special space, conceiving a program that will keep the audience (and musicians) inspired, choosing players who will be sympathetic to each other’s musical impulses and personalities, leading rehearsals with an atmosphere of experimentation while still maintaining direction and focus, spreading the word about performances, building support within the community, and generally overseeing all aspects of concert production most likely to result in the kind of experience described above.
This is what you undertake when you create, direct, and perform in a chamber music series. Maia Jasper and I started the Salastina Music Society because of the joy I described in my hypothetical answer (and the fulfillment of making it happen from start to finish). We’ll be using this blog to share what happens behind the scenes. Check back often for guest artist interviews, special information about upcoming concerts, and other ramblings!
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