Monday, February 11, 2008

World-Class Violinists in a Russian Subway

Once, on our way to the subway at conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia, a colleague and I entered a long anti-room with a completely tiled domed ceiling. A dozen violinists were lined up against the length of the room tuning, as crowds of people streamed past. "Let's wait," I said to my friend. It was Vivaldi's "Winter," and for those who know it, when one of the violinists stepped out in front of the rest and ripped into his solo, you can imagine what it was like in that perfect little acoustic chamber; the intensity was like standing in front of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, or, well, something!

One point worth making though, is that this occurred during the period of dire economic stress with the collapse of government institutions leaving so many previously secure, highly trained professional artists left on their own. The public spaces of pedestrian activity provide the forum for those artists to create their own performances.

Having these spaces available seems related to open networks. Allow people access to each to see what each other wants. E.g., "Vivaldi sells when we blast it at them in the domed room, guys. We've learned that much!" Who knows what it could lead to, and where those violinists are now?

1 comment:

trudeau said...

Ron Hardy and I have talked about leading a cosmic jam band on weekend afternoons in the park areas around the Municipal Auditorium. Such public jamming might work during an art walk
or other event. He plays djembe and I play bass. Loren is a guitarist. Also, I have a collection of plastic cannister shakers for audience participation.

Stand by for music.