As a performer and lover of new and contemporary music, is it often hard to know how to fill seats when no one has heard of the music being performed, and many unaware of what is happening on stage. More often times the music is completely unsingable and lacks a clear melody yet there is a quality about it that pulls at us in a certain way to make us want to perform it. Surely if we want to perform this music so much, there is an audience just waiting to hear it. Many musicians spend hours a day for weeks on end taming monumental contemporary works that fall flat for the "uninformed" and (dare I say...) non-academic crowd. That is if we have enough audience members to call it a "crowd." But on we slave, hopeful that our love for contemporary music will find new audiences and that our efforts will be rewarded.
Recently, I had the opportunity to perform on a collective show called Permanent Collection, which was the third in a series of performing arts installments curated by Colin Hacklander.
This was an interesting show to be a part of because it not only featured a saxophone quartet by Mike Duffy and saxophone solo by Adam Zahller, it also had independent short films, improvised music and videos, rock music, etc. It was quite the blend of music, art, and film. There was even an article written about it in L'étoile Magazine here.
As you can probably guess, this was not the kind of setting where patrons buy tickets, are quietly ushered to their seats where they must sit for an hour or more in the dark without moving, listening to someone make a bunch of noise that they might not even comprehend. This was the kind of setting where patrons buy tickets and get a free beer. Rarely do I play for a large crowd of non-musicians (at least not classically trained musicians), and when I do they are usually older than me. This show was filled with dozens of people in their 20's and 30's that not only listened attentively, but were receptive of the music. How often do we get that as contemporary musicians? Plus, with a little beer not only do I play better, I sound better too!
Many applauds to the efforts of Colin and everyone involved in creating this event. It is refreshing to be surrounded with open minded and receptive audiences, and to associate with people who make efforts to transform the role of art in our culture.
Saxophonist, Artist, Listener, Thinker, Teacher, Performer, Curator, Veggie, Reader, Lover of Contemporary Music