Creative Venues for Musicmaking

I’m lucky to have a music studio with enough space to hold an audience of about 30. But this year I’m planning a big old-fashioned dress-up recital, mostly for the benefit of my young students and their families. Right now I’m looking into booking a church with an excellent piano. If that doesn’t work out, I will look into booking a nearby community center which has a Steinway on their stage.

The reason I say “old-fashioned” is because I’ve been reading about so many creative performance ideas recently. Really you can make any space a performance space.

Museums, shops, private homes, and galleries work well. Here’s a list of 10 ideas in unusual places, including one in a Launderette! The article mentions The Black Cab Sessions. The idea:  one song, one take, one big old London cab. They even fit a small keyboard in there for Au Revoir Simone.

At South by Southwest in Austin, TX, there were performers playing in every venue.  But one was the most intimate of all:

There were gigs in parking lots, the noise carried off on dusty winds. There were lakeside gigs lighted by fireworks. Gigs in big theaters, at an old power plant, in a “death metal” pizza joint. Gigs — parades, funky drummers, ukulele serenades — in the middle of Sixth Street, the always-mobbed party thoroughfare here. And, of course, there were gigs within, outside and above bars all over downtown.

But the most unusual performance space at South by Southwest this year, and perhaps one of the most effective, was a small, quiet hotel room blessedly removed from all the pandemonium. Just after noon on Saturday, a couple of dozen booking agents, artist managers and assorted friends and relations packed into a room at the historic Driskill Hotel to take in three guitar-cradling singer-songwriters in what seemed almost unthinkably intimate circumstances…

…at the hotel on Saturday afternoon, they sat at the foot of the bed and played with a delicacy — and a casualness — that would simply be impossible anywhere else here. Mr. Waller contemplated loss as its own sort of protest against war: “Oh my love,” he sang, “I never dreamed that you would die so far away.” (For a couple of songs, he had a cellist, squeezed between the bed and a window overlooking Sixth Street.) Jenny O. and Alessi Laurent-Marke, who performs as Alessi’s Ark, sang so quietly that, even though I was squatting on the floor just a few feet from them, I had to lean in to catch all the nuances.

Read the entire article here.

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