House Concerts

House concerts are all the buzz these days. They are a terrific way for musicians to bypass the gatekeepers and perform in an intimate setting for an enthusiastic and forgiving audience. There is a give and take between performer and audience that just doesn’t happen in the concert hall.

According to a recent article in SFgate

Most house concert aficionados speak about that bond between the musicmakers and music lovers in terms that verge on the spiritual.

Unlike clinky clubs and coffee joints, home concerts encourage audiences to create “the elegance of silence,” said Daniel Patrick, a partner in Marin’s Murphy Productions. “The place of presentation allows for that and encourages that behavior. You’re creating the moment.”

“The thing about a house concert is that it’s communal,” said popular songwriter, record producer and music teacher Caren Armstrong, 54, of Oakland. “Everybody brings something to make it happen.”

Although house concerts are usually associated with folk and jazz musicians, classical music is coming around to the idea of house concerts, much like the salons of Paris during the time of Chopin and Liszt. The NYT had his article last month about Steven and Judy Gluckstern whose house concerts have raised $1.5 million for Classical Action, a fund-raising program of the AIDS organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The Glucksterns presented their house concerts in their beautiful Soho loft, which became known as Carnegie Hall South.

The chandelier, a cone of blue-green blown-glass spirals reaching almost to the floor, became a concern the night the soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and the mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick sang an aria from Bellini’s “Norma.”

On a smaller scale, The Music Studio has been host to two creative performances recently: this one in November, and then last weekend we played Rubberball Piano and Theremin, featuring music of Ives, Schubert and the rubber balls, of course.

Last week I was fortunate to receive a Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Project Grant to fund a series of salon recitals at The Music Studio during 2010. Hopefully this is just the first step in a thriving self-sufficient musical series!

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