Michelle Djokic: Open Rehearsals?

Open relationships are not considered legitimate relationships by Western standards: they are viewed as crumbling façades masking partners’ mutual disrespect.  For much the same reason, “open rehearsals” are unpalatable to conservative classical musicians.  They believe that serious musical partnerships are exclusive and based on paring musicians of the same artistic skill level and maturity.  This phenomenon is so pronounced that it is unquestioned practice in higher education: teachers rehearse with teachers and students with students.  But there is reason to believe that “open rehearsals” – meaning inclusive rehearsals that anyone can take part in – can lead to stronger, more respectful relationships for everyone involved.  Michelle Djokic, a Grammy-nominated cellist and daughter of World War II. survivors, applies such an innovative open-rehearsal format to address social ills, the likes of bullying, shaming and exclusion.  To those rehearsals, she brings elite professional musicians to share the rehearsal process with adolescents.  Come welcome Michelle to our show and let’s ask her how it’s going! 

When: Wednesday, May 25th, 2022, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time  (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 10:00-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

Michael Werba: Post-War Musical Vienna (1946-1955)

Erik Werba in rehearsal (no date)

Today, Vienna is widely considered the center of the European Classical music scene.  But the city was decimated during World War II. and, from one day to the next, found itself occupied by both Cold War belligerents.  What were those days like and is it true that music was central to the city’s post-war restoration?  Nobody knows that story better than Michael Werba, Emeritus Musician of the Vienna Philharmonic.  His father, Erik, a piano accompanist and music critic, was a key figure in the musical Vienna of those years.  Erik Werba’s now mythical concerts and recitals took place with musicians the likes of Imgard Seefried, Walter Berry, Willy Boskowsky, Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Christa Ludwig.  Come welcome Michael Werba to our show and he will tell us a very special story about the music that (re)made Vienna.

When: Wednesday, May 18th, 2022, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time  (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 10:00-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

The Vagues Saxophone Quartet: The Soundscape of Modernity 

Around the latter half of the nineteenth century, a curious single-reed instrument marched onto the Western music scene.  The saxophone was promoted as the most efficient musical instrument ever invented: it was as agile as the clarinet, as versatile as the violin and as powerful as the trumpet.  Though the saxophone has yet to be inducted into the prestigious ranks of the symphony orchestra – its notable guest appearances in contemporary classics, like Ravel’s Bolero, notwithstanding – connoisseurs revel in the latent potential this industrial-age instrument brings to the soundscape of modernity.  The Vagues Saxophone Quartet is a premier ensemble that dedicates most of its sold-out performances to presenting the newest music for saxophone. Come welcome the Vagues Quartet to our show and experience, yourself, the soundscape of tomorrow.

When: Wednesday, May 11th, 2022, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time  (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 10:00-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

MingHuan Xu & Winston Choi: Duo Diorama

Regarding chamber music, hardly is there another genre with as vast a repertoire as the violin and piano duo.  Composers seem to use this versatile instrumental combination to offer the most intimate chamber music interactions in one phrase and thundering orchestral tuttis in the next.  Duo Diorama, a violin and piano duo based in Chicago, is dedicated to performing it all, the whole repertoire: from the canon of celebrated sonatas by Beethoven and Mozart to the newest of tomorrow’s new music.  Come welcome violinist MingHuan Xu and pianist Winston Choi to our show and hear it for yourself! 

When: Wednesday, May 4th, 2022, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time   (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live

Agata Ewa Kordecka: Micro-Publishing and the Fine Arts

Moving to foreign lands was a tradition in Agata’s family. Even before the Yalta Conference, Stalin was redrawing national borders to project his geo-political power westward. By then, Agata’s grandparents, from Soviet Ukraine and Belarus, had already been forced to leave their homes and move to Krakow. Shortly thereafter, they moved even further west to the former Prussian city Breslau (today called Wrocław, Poland), where they actively participated in the former German city’s Soviet renewal. Agata, albeit for different reasons, moved from Poland to Northern Italy, where, as she ironically laments, “nobody understands her jokes.” Likewise, nobody understands her art: Agata, a professional visual artist, has no local art center to exhibit at and no local artistic community to take part in. Her innovative solution to that artistic solitude was to dispatch her art around the globe by founding her own publishing company. Come welcome to Agata to our show!

When: Wednesday, April 27th, 2022, from 19:00-20:00 Central European Time   (1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time / 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time)

Where: on Zoom and Facebook Live