Yesterday was Easter in New York City. The brownstone lined streets were finally blooming cherry blossoms and dogwoods. The windows in industrial lofts of factories of yore were glinting and gleaming. The bulbs planted in apartment window units were peaking through moist soil. I even spotted someone dressed in a bunny costume.
For those of us who did not have a family dinner, or whose relatives are somewhere far away – California, Texas, Illinois – there are always local friends. My husband’s colleague, and good friend, invited us over to their gorgeous TriBeCa loft for something called a Groupmuse. In the afternoon light, the minimal and mid-century inspired home looked glorious!
A Groupmuse is halfway between a chamber music concert and a house party. It’s equal parts musical and social. Using the power of the internet, Groupmuse has launched a way to support local musicians by fostering chamber music house parties. One can host, attend or play in unorthodox settings bringing back the idea of the original parlor concert or salon. It feels simultaneously nostalgic or antiquated yet futuristic – a clever juxtaposition.
We had the pleasure of experiencing a solo suite for Cello by Bach (Chaconne in D minor), as well as an Hungarian duo (Op. 7) by Zoltán Kodály. During it all, the wine was flowing, the crudités were crunching, and my husband and I were making new friends in an intimate and culturally invigorating space. The two talented young musicians, Sebastian Baverstam, playing the cello, and Emily Smith, playing the violin, were so open and accessible after their performance ended. We asked questions and easily conversed. The event became an easy and far-from-elitist way to understand classical music.
I love the idea of music accessibility, and bringing its comforts to the home, rather than an intimidating concert hall, opera hall or architecturally important venue. So often live performance is seen as academic and esoteric – now Groupmuse aims to create a new audience for the important notes of Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and composers being forgotten by the young.
Groupmuse, in essence, is a social network that directly connects musicians, audience members, and willing hosts, so that the community can organically generate its own house concerts, and so that the classical music experience becomes as socially appealing as it is musically appealing, as part of a radical new effort to introduce classical music to Millenials.
Started in Boston, the performances have now expanded to San Francisco and New York City. Join the social symphony!