Archives

Reserve Now: Emanuel Ax Festival Residency to Benefit CMW

photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Emanuel Ax Festival Residency
with Community MusicWorks

On March 23rd and 24th, world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax joins students and faculty in a two-day residency to benefit CMW.

In recognition of this special residency, Community MusicWorks has set a fundraising goal of $30,000 to support our music education programs, performances and community-building activities. 

Purchase a Festival “Ax Pass” to support Community MusicWorks and celebrate our twentieth season! Get fun extras, like priority seating and an invitation to the concert after-party to meet Emanuel Ax!

Festival Pass Level 1: $20
Entrance to all events; Festival Pass button; 1 free taco at La Lupita

Festival Pass Level 2: $120
Priority seating to all events; Festival Pass button; 1 free taco at La Lupita

Festival Pass Level 3: $220
Priority seating to all events; Festival Pass button; 1 free taco at La Lupita; poster signed by Mr. Ax

Festival Pass Level 4: $520
Priority seating to all events; Festival Pass button; 1 free taco at La Lupita; poster signed by Mr. Ax; Invitation to concert after-party

All events are free and open to the public, but reservations are required.

Festivities start on Thursday at Brown University’s Granoff Center with a masterclass and open rehearsal followed by a public discussion. Thursday evening, the MusicWorks Collective and Mr. Ax will perform at La Lupita Tacos Mexicanos in Olneyville Square. Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear an international sensation while enjoying a taco! (Schedule details and reservation link below.)

On Friday, join us for a Community Dinner at the West End Community Center followed by a concert featuring Emanuel Ax and the MusicWorks Collective performing selections from Mozart piano concertos. In addition, Mr. Ax will join CMW faculty and students in a culminating performance of our We Shall Overcome Project. (Reservation link below.)


Festival Schedule for Thursday, March 23

Granoff Center, Brown University, 154 Angell Street, Providence
2:00-3:00pm Masterclass with Emanuel Ax and Brown music students
3:30pm: Open Rehearsal with Emanuel Ax, the MusicWorks Collective, and CMW students
5:30pm: Public panel discussion: “What Does it Mean to be a Citizen Artist?”
Attend all or part of the day’s events
Make your reservation here

La Lupita Tacos Mexicanos,  1950 Westminster Street, Providence
7:30pm Performance by Emanuel Ax and the MusicWorks Collective
Make your reservation here


Festival Schedule for Friday, March 24

West End Community Center, 109 Bucklin Street, Providence
6:00pm Community Dinner
7:00pm Performance by Emanuel Ax, the MusicWorks Collective and CMW students
Make your reservation here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art in a Time of Rage

As CMW musicians have been working over the past several weeks to articulate our response as artists and citizens to the many events of the new administration, our discussions have toggled between the actions we need to take raising our voices as engaged citizens and making music.

New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, who once profiled CMW, takes on this question in his post about how musicians make music in a time of rage. Ross quotes Lucy Caplan*, whose essay about CMW’s 2016 Art and Social Action symposium (read it here).

*A fun fact: Lucy worked with CMW’s Sebastian Ruth as a student in his Yale class, and then as a TA in his Music and Social Action Coursera class. Read more about Lucy here and here.

 

Links:
Alex Ross: Making Art in a Time of Rage
Alex Ross: Learning the Score (CMW Profile in the New Yorker)
Lucy Caplan: The World You Want to Live In (on CMW’s 2016 symposium)
Sebastian Ruth: Music and Social Action (Coursera)

 

 

 

Talking and Listening: Behind the Scenes of 20 Years, 20 Stories

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Daniels is a writer, editor, cellist, CMW parent, former CMW Board member and expert eavesdropper. She helms the 20 Years, 20 Stories project and this is her story.

I’ve been an eavesdropper since childhood. My mother liked to pour herself a Royal Crown cola in the late afternoon, park herself on the couch and telephone her mother, which was my cue to c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y raise the extension handset upstairs. Usually, they discussed mundane matters:  pork chops versus chicken, how this season’s fashions were so unflattering and, now and then, family gossip. The topics were almost beside the point, except for the family gossip, which is why I eavesdropped in the first place. But I was also intrigued by the mysterious current of poetry running beneath even the most routine remarks. I loved the give and take of conversation, the sighs and pauses, the sound of my mother’s sympathetic tsk-tsk’s and my grandmother’s pretty brogue. I almost always got busted and was scolded, but not seriously enough to deter me from future attempts. Talking was as close as my family got to making music. No one sang or played an instrument, and my relatives just embarrassed themselves trying to clap along to music, but man, could these people talk. Listeners, even illicit ones, had a role to play, too. We completed the performance circle.

In college, Studs Terkel’s oral history Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do shaped my senior year thesis. I made the leap from habitual eavesdropper to scholarly interviewer and collected the oral histories of women who came of age during the 1920s. The best parts of the resulting 200-plus-page door-stopper were their reminiscences. After college, I became a reporter: more listening, more writing. Even after I quit newspapers and turned to other pursuits, I never lost the eavesdropping habit. My husband recognizes the faraway look that crosses my face when we’re in a public space and I hear something that bears further investigation, convinced, of course, that no one can tell what I’m up to. After 27 years, he also knows that whatever he and I were talking about will have to wait. More recently, I’ve been inspired by writer Svetlana Alexievich, who won a Nobel for Secondhand Time, her beautifully rendered oral history of post-Soviet Russians.

In September, I began an exciting new listening and writing project in connection with Community MusicWorks’ 20th anniversary: collecting 20 representative stories of CMW musicians, staff, students, parents and supporters. I’ve been expertly assisted by CMW fellow Josie Davis, who interviewed three people, and Communications Manager Liz Cox, who proofreads the stories and designs the online content. (Read the stories here.)

It hasn’t been difficult to get people to open up. I’ve been a familiar face at CMW since my youngest had his first cello lesson here ten years ago. I’ve exchanged knowing glances with other parents when a beginner nails “Twinkle” and held a collective breath during the dying notes of a Beethoven quartet performed by the pros. I’ve square-danced to fiddle tunes and attempted, much less successfully, the salsa.  I’ve sung rounds and set up folding chairs; fretted over budgets and strategic goals; eased my car past side-view mirrors on snow-bound Messer Street; knitted for newborns; and eaten far too much pizza.

Since people know me better as an at-large mom than as an interviewer and writer, some of my questions may discomfit. Recently, a student I was interviewing put up a hand and blurted, “That’s a weird question!” Um, ok. But can you answer it anyway? I remain confident that what I’m curious about others are too. She answered in good faith, trusting that I have her back. I am honored by that trust. You readers should be also. When people talk honestly they make themselves vulnerable. They don’t want to be misconstrued as they describe emotions and realizations that can’t be summarized by facts alone. This is especially true of CMW’s staff, who are talking about their life’s work.

It’s why I take the final step of the oral history process so seriously: converting 8-20 pages of interview transcript to a narrative that honors the speaker’s intentions, captures history while it’s still occurring, and compels readers. It’s a messy process. No matter how cleverly I order the questions and pursue answers during an interview, the talk meanders, as talk will. Even the most prepared and polished speakers wander off topic and speak colloquially, thank goodness. They are thinking out loud, which is where the music happens. It’s the difference between watching an official read a prepared statement from behind a podium and hearing him speak spontaneously from the heart when a reporter surprises him off-stage by asking exactly the right question at the right moment. I’m going for the latter.

Some “20 Years, 20 Stories” subjects have been flummoxed by the difference between the hour-plus interview they remember and the 2-5 page story I produce, having edited and condensed our conversation to a fare-thee-well, absenting my questions along the way. (Available here, if you’re curious.) They worry about being misperceived and about sounding too casual. They worry that they have said too much or too little. It is scary to see your constantly morphing thoughts marching in regimental black lines across white space. Where are the raised eyebrows signaling sincerity or the smile signaling warmth? Where are the tears that welled up when recalling a triumphant moment with a challenging student? Where’s a second or third chance to rephrase? To be more thoughtful? To explain more fully?

Oral history and chamber music have much in common. Both art forms strive to capture human experience through artifice and collaborative effort, and both are very much of the moment. Therein lies the thrill. Having made the artistic decision to omit interview questions in favor of narrative flow, I don’t worry that readers need cue cards. I trust that readers will appreciate what I appreciate about oral history: the idiosyncratic quirks of everyday speech as thoughtful people talk about things that matter. Subjects can trust their beautiful, one-of-a-kind voices to tell the story. The rest of us can pick up the extension and listen in.

The 20 Years, 20 Stories homepage.