The music we play, chamber music for small ensembles, was never originally intended for the concert hall. Its original audience was smaller groups of people gathered in private homes. We have been experimenting with ways of bringing live music back into everyday life on a small scale. We call these experiments “Pop-Up Concerts” and they pop up whenever we have an idea or an opportunity.
The annual Culture Days weekend at the end of September is a national event filled with free presentations by many different cultural organizations across the country. The Schoen Duo Studio offers free events on Culture Days: Suzuki Early Childhood Education and Creative Ensemble Lab “taster” classes, and a pop-up concert featuring our latest works in progress. The September 2018 Culture days events were at La Cité Francophone. The concert portion featured a set of our trademark layered compositions using the loop station, including the first completed section of the River Crossing Soundscape.
Front Porch Concerts:
Our first pop-up concert experiment was using our front porch as a live music venue , as part of MakeSomethingEdmonton’s 100 in 1 day event. The front porch was the space between street busking and in-house concerts. We invited people to sit on the grass or bring a lawn chair and enjoy a short concert on our own front porch. Every year since then we have had our annual Front Porch Concert on the first Saturday of June.
Update: We were pleased to notice that the Kaleido Festival had also embraced the “Front Porch Concert” idea, hosting several small performances in front yards in the festival neighbourhood during September. But Ithaca, New York, has been hosting a “Porchfest” since 2007!
Cats in the Kitchen:
Our second experiment was the “Cats in the Kitchen ” concert at the King Edward Park Small Hall. This community hall featured a long kitchen counter along one side of the room, perfect for setting up an array of kitchen items that were used to create the percussion track for the title piece, Philip Bimstein’s “Cats in the Kitchen”. Audience members were invited to experiment with the sounds of beating eggs, slicing bread, and toaster timers before hearing them presented by the composer in the piece.
In the planning stages (watch this space for announcements and details!):
- Flower concert in a garden, using the symbolic language of flowers
- Community concert, inviting our students to join us for few pieces
- Beer concert in October, featuring German music
- Cats in the Kitchen at a pet adoption centre
- Environmental sound music concert in both natural and urban spaces