This weekend we’ll have the Emerson String Quartet here. They’re playing two concerts, Friday night and Saturday afternoon, with two completely different programs. Each concert will have a newly commissioned work – one by Kaija Saariaho and one by Bright Sheng. Friday night’s program is nice enough – Schubert A Minor, Sheng “The Miraculous“ and Brahms A Minor – but the killer program will be Saturday afternoon: Shostakovich 7th, Saariaho “Terra Memoria,“ Bartók 3rd and Beethoven Op. 59, No. 3.

So far, I haven’t taken any heat for booking them into our 300-seat hall, rather than our two other options, which have 600 and 1200 seats. It was a tough call for me, because I knew we would have no trouble selling out the larger venues. But I also know the other two halls would have compromised the experience for both the quartet and the audience. Chamber music is an intimate artistic expression, more poetry than spectacle. Rather than looking for the most income I could generate from these concerts, or giving as many people as possible the ability to brag about having been there, I’m trying to make sure the experience is maximized for everyone who is there.

Like I said, I haven’t taken any heat for this decision yet – but I’m guessing that will change in the next few days.

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