Each year, SHAR holds a string quartet competition for high school students. We get applicants from all over the state of Michigan; typically, these applicants represent up to a dozen high schools and youth orchestras. We divide the quartets into two divisions, depending on the size of their school or orchestra program. It's such a joy each year to hear these talented students play, and this year was no exception. You can watch the winning quartets play below:
What are we actually hearing when we listen to classical music? In a new series of blog entries, our resident violinist Alberta Barnes will assign our resident writer Joe Chapman (and classical music novice) a work by a famous composer. Joe's letters to Alberta will respond to the work without recourse to musical terminology, and Alberta's responses will explain what, exactly, Joe is hearing. Have a favorite composer or work you want Joe and Alberta to write about? Leave a comment below and they'll tackle that one next!
One of my favorite bars in Ann Arbor is Old Town Tavern: it's laid-back, unpretentious, and while the food isn't anything to write home about, it's decent bar fare. The drinks are reasonably priced, but not so cheap that you get college students passed out in the corner booths. As one Charles Dickens character from Little Dorrit likes to say, "There's no nonsense about it." In short, it's comfortable.
But now that I've heard about Classical Revolution, a collective of musicians who bring Mendelssohn and Bach and so on to bars in cities like San Francisco and Detroit and Atlanta, and who have a chapter in Ann Arbor, I'm wondering: would a string ensemble belong at Old Town? Is my favorite bar the right place for this music?
I'm not sure if I'd be more worried about the bar losing its atmosphere or the music losing its impact.