Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Art Music in your Living Room

(this is also posted in my website forum - to discuss this topic and others CLICK HERE)

When art song was young, the way people like Franz Schubert made it popular was to
invite influential people to his home or the home of wealthy friends and hold "Liederabends" or "Evenings of Song". I thought it would be interesting to brainstorm ways in which we could do this today.

So many of the most important movements in music happened because a group of great minds came together and decided an ideal existed which was not being explored. The most obvious example to me is the "Camerata" in Italy which invented opera.

Here in Tallahassee I have my own little "Camerata" (incidentally, if you are a singer/performer/composer in Tallahassee and wish to come to our weekly get-togethers let me know), and we come together once a week to watch opera, listen to music, talk about performance opportunities, brainstorm, and much more. It is a lot of fun (especially since we usually have refreshments) and I think little groups like this are great for moving ideas.

While I was attending BYU we also had a small group of singers that would get together each week and perform for each other. This way we could try new pieces for our colleagues, and work out the kinks in old ones. It was a safe place to explore and invent. We could and were encouraged to use our music, and go as far as we could with certain ideas just to see if they had merit. (I am interested in forming such a group in Tallahassee - let me know if you are interested)

One thing I have not tried is the whole "wealthy salon" approach, and I believe there is a lot of untapped potential in this idea. I know that here in town there are many people with salons or living rooms big enough to hold small performances who would love having the best singers in town in their homes performing beautiful music. Does anyone have any ideas as to how to find these people? I am sure that my small group of singers would love to have more performance opportunities, especially if interesting people are there. How do we bring those who are passionate about art music to the same place?

Those are just a couple of ideas that I have to help bring more art music to more people. Most marketers of art music think that the only way to generate more interest in art music is to find ways to fill opera and recital halls. I think the real interest will come if we can get people excited on a smaller scale.

What are your ideas? Are you interested in any of the preceding ideas? Have you found success doing anything similar?