I spent last week in the Bay Area, where I grew up. Far from being a vacation, though, it was one of the busiest weeks of my year!
I was in town with Chamber Music by the Bay, an outreach quartet founded by old friend and violist Jessica Chang. Every day we hit several schools and/or libraries, sharing our love of chamber music, both as a performer and as an active listener. (I had many opportunities to hone one particular line about Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata: "He came back in the middle of the night, and walked in on his wife... [dramatic pause] ...and the violinist... [even more dramatic pause] ...having an intimate... [most dramatic pause] ...dinner together." [groans from the students.]) Across several different presentation, we covered melody, harmony, program music, and how to dance like a crazy person.
This isn't my usual audience, and these days I'm more likely to play something post-WWII than pre-French Revolution (another big part of our outreach was Haydn.) Still, it was great to engage with so many different groups of people, from toddlers to seniors. I don't think I have the energy to do this 52 weeks a year (especially the instrumental petting zoo!) but one or two intensive weeks is perfect! A part of me does wonder if they'll ever be ready for Schnittke's Second Violin Sonata, though...