Cantata Reflections is a new initiative this season, designed to help promote Emmanuel Music's weekly Bach Cantata Series as a primarily visceral listening experience (rather than intellectual). The challenge is that Bach cantatas contain valuable musical and spiritual content, but their depth is accessible is only if you are comfortable enough to dig into them (and over time). The goal here is to lead with personal experiences of specific cantatas, and by musicians and audience members (not experts). Not that everyone will identify with the same personal experience, but this initiative is designed to give implicit permission to prioritize finding personal relevance.
The violinist/composer/conductor/ice cream entrepreneur Netta Hadari responded to questions from audience members--both in the room and participating virtually--while on stage during his recent violin recital. In the printed and digital program page, he provided a Quick Response code for audience members to scan with their phones.
In addition to the beautiful afternoon of 15-minute "micro concerts" curated by the Newport String Project, a number of other organizations have tried over the past year of Covid restrictions to experiment with maintaining a sense of connection with their audience through live music-making. I'll list a few examples that I'm aware of, and I'm sure that there are many more. Will any of these experiments continue, learn from each other, iterate, become mainstreamed as standard practice?
1:1 concerts, curated by Silkroad in collaboration with BAM
1:1 concerts by members of the San Francisco Symphony
two/go by the Resident Musicians of musiConnects
Musical Conversations by Emmanuel Music roster members
1:1 concerts, first launched in Stuttgart, with a creative team that includes flutist Stephanie Winker
2018 Brown University graduate Melanie Ambler has spent much of 2020 developing her own project, Petite Pause Musicale, to reach people in isolation, both in the United States and in France (where she traveled on a Fulbright). I love how she describes her professional goals in her LinkedIn profile: "I am a cellist pursuing a career in medicine as a physician-artist-scientist. My work centers around how music can be used as an effective, non-pharmacological, cost-effective complement to medical care."
Vanity Fair published a very lovely interview with Stephen Colbert recently, including his thoughts on performing comedy in front of a camera at home without his normal audience of happy people in a theater. In particular, I appreciated the following paragraph about reclaiming a sense of intimacy.
Sharing project documentation and examples of student thinking, and my own.