Winner of the 2011-2012 CMA/ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming and recipient of the 2012 Arts Council Music Commissions Award, Vivre Musicale is a non-profit chamber music society that seeks to provide young up and coming musicians a strong foot hold in the classical music world through the diversification of concerts, genres, and the melding together of various art forms that further enhance the concert going experience. Performing mainly in the Mid-Atlantic area, they have demonstrated a serious commitment to changing the landscape of classical music programming.
“Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”
― Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995
Vivre Musicale is taking a sincere and thoughtful look at violence, politics, and humanity in their upcoming fourth season: “War & Peace: A Season of Reflection, Understanding, and Acceptance.”
In three distinct concerts, Disturbia, Humanity, and Sexuality, Vivre presents controversial topics of war and subsequent peace that have stood the test of time and continue to beckon for change and, at the very least, closer investigation in the present day.
Disturbia will treat the volatile political climate in which we live today where Democrat and Republican stand strongly opposed to one another; where around the world examples of social uprisings, revolutions, and change are being seen on a grand scale, and where our own way of life, perception and understanding of the [status] quo is increasingly challenged. Humanity treats the thorny and pervasive issue of race, immigration, and man’s basic sense of community, brotherhood, and compassion. Sexuality will delve deep into the growing and controversial social conscience of the day, looking at issues of women’s rights, gender roles, and the social standings and legal implications of what has become the new civil rights movement, the new “black,” homosexuality.
Through a musical tapestry melded with other thought-provoking artistic mediums, this season will provide gripping and gritty food for thought, that will satiate the most inquisitive of minds, stimulate the most controversial of views, and create a platform for open and honest discussion. ¹
Another important part of Vivre Musicale’s mission is their encouragement and support of living composers. “With the acceptance of the Arts Council Music Commissions Grant for the commissioning of Irish composer, David Coonan, Vivre Musicale has set out to reinvent the song cycle. This work, titled War & Peace, will be a 25-30 minute multi-movement work that treats the duality of war and subsequent peace through the soprano and tenor voice, with clarinet and piano serving occasionally as victims, instigators, passersby, observers, making musical commentary as they are swept up in the tumult of the experience.”² As I wrote the other week, it is extremely important for musicians to be multiple parts of the musical eco-system. Vivre Musicale programs interesting work, played by highly skilled musicians, and continues to expand the field in regards to commissioning works. But, they can’t do it alone. They also need help from the community at-large.
They recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to make their first recording which will feature Coonan’s work as well as Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du Temps. A successful Kickstarter would mean fostering the professional goals of many musicians and furthering Vivre’s reach in the community. Vivre Musicale is an important part of the Mid-Atlantic scene because they encourage a dialogue between the arts and society. Not one to shy away from a difficult subject, they seek out the concerns of their audience and create insightful programs that remind us all that art isn’t only about the pretty.
Arlene and Larry Dunn says
Thanks Megan for making some noise about this. We are excited and intrigued about Vivre’s “War & Peace” season for similar reasons to what attracted us to Spektral Quartet’s “Theatre of War” event earlier year. It is so valuable that artists are leading the way to confronting these troubling issues so central to the future of human culture and civilization. Wish we didn’t live so far form where these programs will be presented.
You know, I was thinking of Spektral’s event as well. It shows that our collective consciousness has truly turned towards these themes.
“What do you think an artist is? …he is a political being, constantly aware of the heart breaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.”
― Pablo Picasso
It will be interesting to see how we continue to confront these issues in the next few years.
Arlene and Larry Dunn says
Love that Picasso quote.