It’s a sad fact that a lot of people, even those who would consider themselves passionate fans of music, still have a blind spot when it comes to classical and chamber music. Perhaps it’s possible that years of classical music concerts being big-ticket affairs have conditioned people to view the genre as inherently snooty or exclusionist. These biases tend to be erased once you actually experience a good night of entrancing musicians playing pieces that have survived centuries for a reason.
Emerald City Music is a fairly new chamber music series, having had its first season of concerts in late 2016. It understands the importance of exposure with regard to converting new fans to the classical genre. Emerald City Music tries to appeal to “all music lovers, not just people who already appreciate classical music,” according to its website. This attitude of welcoming not just aficionados but newcomers is a step in the right direction of making this music available for a wider audience to find enrichment in it.
On the precipice of the spring months, Emerald City Music will hold two events of particular interest: first, taking place on February 11, is Strings Attached, a show that highlights unusual combinations of stringed instruments over the course of four pieces. The performers for that evening are all decorated musicians, including cellists Ani Aznavoorian and David Requiro; violinists Ani Kavafian, Tessa Lark and Kristin Lee and violists Roberto Diaz and Yura Lee.
March 18 sees master harpist Bridget Kibbey taking the stage. For anyone worried chamber music might be too uptight, one listen to Bridget Kibbey should assuage that concern. She absolutely shreds on the harp, as much as anyone can be said to shred on a harp. Impossibly dexterous fingers fly nimbly across strings in complex arpeggios, achieving a melodic percussion that draws the listener in to a reverie.
Both of these shows will have two performances: one in Seattle, and one in Olympia. With Emerald City Music just getting started on the good work of singing chamber music’s praises, now is a great time to dive in with open ears.
What: Strings Attached
Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11
How much: $7-$40
What: Bridget Kibbey
Where: Evergreen State College Recital Hall
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 18
How much: $10-$45