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Thinking outside the box...

A few months ago, during our initial lock down, live musical concerts ceased to exist. Performers still wanted to perform, audiences still wanted to listen and the virtual concert was born. Musicians from every genre of music have created these, many free of charge and all available for streaming on the internet. QSCM currently has one available on our website. Without the technology of today this would not be possible. We can be physically distanced and still have a technologically assisted social presence of a sort.

But technology cannot duplicate the energy and magic of a live in-person concert. What makes a live concert so inimitable despite our best technological resources?

The best I can come up with is that a live performance is more of an "event". Each live performance has the potential to become an event that can be anything from memorable to life-altering. In the mid 1980's I was fortunate to see and hear Vladimir Horowitz performing an all Scarlatti program at Massey Hall. I have listened to his recordings of Scarlatti since, but they don't compare to the live performance. Being there for a real time performance was certainly an "event" for me. Live performances humanize not only the most exalted of performers but the music as well. Critics often use the phrase "brought to life" to describe a performance and although it is much over-used, it is very apt. There is a nervous excitement to a live event that is shared between the performer(s) and audience that is absent in any virtual presentation.

As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease somewhat, the large concert halls and opera houses remain empty. Everything must be scaled down to small gatherings limited by capacity regulations. Chamber music seems to be especially designed for our "new normal". It is written for a small group of performers and a small audience; it can be intimate while physically distanced. It is a style of music that is based on conversations where everyone has a voice. Chamber music is sociable and communicative, qualities that have been lacking in recent times.

The string quartet is the epitome of chamber music. Beginning in the Classical period, composers wrote extensively for this form. Hadyn alone wrote 104 string quartets. The term string quartet refers to the instrumentation (first violin, second violin, viola and cello) as well as the format of the music (a multi-movement work based on the sonata cycle). Contemporary classical composers are continuing to write string quartets today.

The term "chamber music' assumes an enclosed space, but does it actually require one? At QSCM we think outside the box. Music can be enjoyed and experienced anywhere. Walls are optional.

Join us September 25, 26, 27 as we present the All Terrain Tour featuring the Madoc Quartet in FREE live outdoor EVENTS

at a variety of venues. RSVP on the website if you plan to attend since seating will be limited. Bring your own chair. Public health protocols will be in place.

All details available at

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