If cellos could talk
I have an abiding fondness for programs for individual adult amateur musicians. They focus on the participatory element of classical music, something that often gets lost in the mainstream side of the industry (audiences, after all, are generally encouraged to buy tickets and sit still -- without coughing or, heaven forfend, clapping between movements). The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “Rusty Musician” enterprise earlier this year demonstrated the kind of interest that exists. So does the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's annual "Community Side-by-Side" event. So do the dozens of “Messiah” sing-alongs every Christmas. So do a whole range of programs, from Kneisel Hall's Adult Chamber Music Institute to the Berkshire Choral Festival -- and the BSO is itself starting the BSO Academy in June (it is already sold out). There seems to me to be an increasing emphasis on making art rather than simply "consuming" it, and I think these programs are helping to develop something that's often missing for classical music audiences. I hope that more and more larger organizations continue exploring expanding avenues for active amateurs.
Here's a plug for one such program: “Cellospeak," an annual, intensive, week-long workshop for cellists. This weekend, the organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a fund-raiser in Alexandria featuring four cellists from the National Symphony Orchestra (whose cello section is one of its signal strengths): 4IN CORRESPONDENCE, playing everything from Bach to Apocalyptica. The concert is Sunday at 3 p.m., and tickets are $30; students under 18 can attend for free.
Does anyone have direct experience of participatory programs for adult amateur musicians that have been particularly noteworthy?
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