On a gray, drizzly Sunday afternoon, I arrived at an industrial constructing within the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I used to be there for one thing known as a One-to-One Concert, however I genuinely had no concept what to anticipate – what sort of music I would hear, and even the place I would hear it. After a temperature test, a masked girl approached me. Her title was Stacy, an usher employed by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the occasion’s presenter.
As we walked by means of a loud hall, Stacy gave me one very strict instruction for the efficiency I used to be about to see: no applause.
We arrived at one other constructing, and climbed just a few flights of stairs. I entered a big room with a window revealing the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan skyline. There have been two carpets on the concrete flooring, about 10 ft aside, and two wood chairs on them. A girl in an extended black costume, with an identical black masks, held a viola. She nodded for me to take a seat, after which started to play, for my ears solely.
The sound of the solo viola enjoying Bach within the full of life, swirling acoustic was virtually overwhelming, emotionally and musically. These One-to-One Concerts are the brainchild of a German flutist named Stephanie Winker and a few colleagues, scenographer Franziska Ritter and cultural mediator Christian Siegmund, who needed to create an unusually intimate musical expertise.
“In that live performance house, we needed to not speak in any respect,” Winkler says, “to be completely non-verbal and have the magic of the encounter and of music converse for itself.”
They tried it out in the summertime of 2019, and it went nicely. Then got here the COVID-19 disaster. “When the pandemic got here, the very first thing that got here to our thoughts was that that is one thing that we might nonetheless do,” Winkler explains, “as a result of it is simply two individuals, and there is a secure distance between one another.”
Launched a yr in the past in Stuttgart – at the airport, amongst different locations – the One-to-One Live shows addressed a starvation for contact, brought on by pandemic isolation. Since then, they have been accomplished in Australia, Japan, India, throughout Europe. Now, they’ve reached america for 2 weekends of live shows within the Navy Yard, Might 8-9 and 15-16, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Silkroad Ensemble.
Wrapped in the great thing about the music and the enjoying, my 10 minutes flew by. The piece ended, and we have been silent. I nodded to the performer. She nodded to me. We put our fingers on our hearts.
Then, we broke the principles and had a chat. “My title is Mario Gotoh,” the artist instructed me. “I play the viola, and I simply performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G main for unaccompanied cello.”
Whereas she had accomplished some instructing in the course of the pandemic, Gotoh was desirous to carry out once more, even when just for one listener at a time. “As somebody who lives on this planet of sound and music, I am so fascinated about this type of experiment,” she mentioned. “I really feel like each listener is available in with a really totally different expectation of what it’ll really feel like.”
Over the course of the weekend, Gotoh performed everywhere in the Navy Yard to round a dozen individuals. “It type of is a gorgeous method to come out of the pandemic,” she mentioned, “or a minimum of to begin interacting once more, as a result of it is so introspective on each the listener and participant sides.”
It could have been solely 10 minutes, however I will be enthusiastic about my One-to-One Live performance with Mario Gotoh for a very long time to return.
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