Duo Sequenza's operating paradigm is that classical music has something vital and uniquely rewarding to offer every individual. Our tagline, "Chamber Music to Move Your Mind & Nourish Your Soul," speaks to our strong belief in classical music’s transformative power. Although most human beings possess two working ears (that being the only prerequisite for listening to music of any genre), today’s classical music audiences consist largely of individuals with some degree of formal background in music. It seems that classical music is perceived by much of the public as being elitist, leading to its being ruled out as an activity that might be meaningful or enjoyable, if it even makes it onto people’s activities radar.
It seems to us that much of the problem may have to do with folks thinking they don’t “get” classical music. News flash: you do “get it.” You just don’t realize that you do.
Today’s society is suffering a plague of shortened attention spans. Screens are ubiquitous everywhere. We live our days to the accompaniment of device after device, often too connected to technology to connect with one another. But you already know that.
Paul and I both came from non-musical families; Paul’s dad was an ironworker and my mom the bookkeeper at a Buick dealership. These kinds of “working class” families, at least in our personal experience, didn’t go out of their way to immerse themselves in cultural arts. Yet, for each of us, even though we didn’t claim to “get it,” once we were exposed to serious art music, we were hooked. Our respective paucities of classical music exposure did not deter us from developing our passions for the art form.
“Music for the People” is the tagline of Classical Revolution, a grassroots movement of world class musicians that are changing the demographics of today’s classical audiences. By performing informal concerts in non-traditional venues, they are transforming communities as they alter the erroneous perception of classical music as elitist.
Our upcoming 3rd season, “Blurring Boundaries,” at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, Indiana, will consist of three new concerts of the finest literature written for flute and classical guitar, and will feature other artistic disciplines as well! Prior to each concert, we’ll do a series of informal outreach programs in non-traditional venues to demystify our art form and demonstrate that contemporary classical music has something valuable and relevant to offer you!
Bring your ears to a chamber music concert, and open your mind to a new experience. Let us show you how this music can be the lemon sorbet cleansing your palette between the courses of your harried life. It’s called an intermezzo!
Neophyte listeners of classical music tell us they often experience a sense of bewilderment over what they should be listening for in serious art music. Let’s look at some ways to begin to approach this most elusive of the performance arts.
In an earlier blog post, “Live Performance,” I explained a bit about my artistic process in learning a new piece of music. First off, you need to understand that music is not contained in a printed score. Music is made in a moment, in a place; an island in time and space.
As musicians, Paul and I are deeply honored by your presence in our concert hall. This tells us that you’ve decided to trust us to guide you on a journey of sorts. It’s a big responsibility. For the most part, you don’t know where this journey may lead. You may not even understand why you suddenly find yourself embarking on such a journey. It’s our mission to join with you as together we transcend the mundane. The starting point of this journey will be the bare-bones communication of a printed score through which the composer has attempted to capture certain intangibles of human experience.
Some pieces are “about” something; they have a theme that offers an entry point for the listener. Some don’t supply such a sign post. Either way, we, as artists, and you, as listeners, each bring our own experiences and our own selves into the music, together creating something altogether new each time.
The art of listening can be distilled down to the simplicity of this: openness. Regardless of my and Paul’s detailed knowledge of the musical score in front of us, we each revel in having a new experience of the music with every performance. We never know quite what to expect from the music, and here’s the key: Neither should you.
That bears repeating. Just as in life, in classical music, we should never know what to expect. We human beings are in a constant state of flux. We find ourselves in varying degrees of harmony or disharmony with the world around us. Who we are and how we are, in any given moment, is going to inform how we experience the music we are hearing. Focused, attentive listening, without expectation, offers a unique opportunity for us to become, for just 90 minutes in the concert hall, a real human being instead of a human doing. When it comes right down to it, listening and experiencing live classical music in the gestalt of time and space binds us together as a community, and enhances our common human experience. It’s sort of like meditating in a group.
We urge you to become a listening artist! Bring your ears to the concert hall, and open your mind and heart to partake in the nourishment of your whole self. Permit the sound to suffuse your soul to its deepest levels. Simply put, there’s no right or wrong of ‘what or how’ when we speak of listening to classical music. At the core of it, there’s only our common experience as human beings. Bring yourself to the conversation. It’s a three-way; between the composer, the artists, and the listener. We need you to make this special thing we call music. After all, if great music is performed by passionate artists, but no one is there to hear it, has any music been made at all?