Celebrity Series of Boston
There are presently no open calls for submissions.
“I wanted to know how courageous we could be… as musicians, audiences, visitors, friends and strangers. What if I could create a space with no pretending and no judging…where an audience does not listen to be impressed? Where we can have a minute…one minute of music…one minute of us.” – Rayna Yun Chou
Concert For One: September 20-29th 2019
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND ARTISTIC BRIEF
Over ten days this fall, Celebrity Series of Boston will give powerful, free music experiences to an estimated 5,000 people: one listener and one musician at a time. Concert For One is a groundbreaking public art event, developed by violist and New England Conservatory graduate Rayna Yun Chou, that distills live performance to its most basic elements.
Yun Chou’s concept rose from her concerns that classical music had become laden with the notion that it’s inaccessible to everyday people. On the performers’ side, she realized musicians were increasingly isolated from the people for whom they play. In pondering how to reconnect audiences and performers, she sought to overcome the hurdles that had arisen between player and listener. Yun Chou debuted the project in Taichung City, Taiwan in 2016. It proved a smashing success, breaking down barriers with short private concerts that energized musicians and listeners alike.
In Boston, performances for Concert For One will take place inside a temporary art installation featuring two specially outfitted shipping containers. The vessels that carry goods across oceans and along railways now carry music from musicians to listeners. One structure in each location houses the performance space – an intimate studio with just enough room for two chairs, two people and an instrument. The second gives listeners a chance to explore the project genesis more fully while waiting for their concert to start, serves as a place to see instruments up-close, and offers a chance to share experiences post-performance. A communal space between the structures will encourage social interactions – both the in-person and online. Here is a sample rendering of the set up musicians can expect:
Concert For One is about discovery, allowing oneself to be taken on a journey where music-making and active listening are the only goals. No phones, distractions, or expectations.
Celebrity Series wants a wide variety of people to experience Concert For One, there will be no roadblocks to participation. No tickets are required, no reservations taken, and no performer schedules will be made public. People can walk up and wait for a performance at any time. The fun is in the adventure – gathering with other people in anticipation, but savoring the solo experience once inside.
Applications for musicians interested in participating will be accepted until April 26th. All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee of educators, musicians, and administrators. All applicants will be notified by email of their selection status by May 15.
September 20-29th 2019
One musician at a time will play for 1 listener for 1 minute at a time. We are expecting that musicians will be playing for as many as 35-40 people in 45 minutes. All participating musicians will be asked to sign up for at least 1 hour and to sign a strict cancellation agreement in order to ensure a successful project.
Musicians will perform in a small opaque space sized and designed to mirror that of a traditional conservatory rehearsal room. Musicians should prepare one-minute long segments of music in advance. The segments should be chosen from different expressive and/or moving pieces that will resonate easily with audiences from all different backgrounds and levels of musical education. Any piece from all genres and eras are acceptable, but selected music should move the performer himself/herself too.
The performance space will have a door, a small window, lamp, music stand, small spinet piano and 2 chairs only. Connected and or adjacent to this is another space that will be open and act as a "lobby” providing an opportunity for participants and passersby to explore instruments that will be featured in the performances and to learn more about the project, Rayna and the artists participating.
The containers will not be soundproof, musicians should expect that while playing there will be sounds from the city that bleed in. In addition, the containers will reverberate sound and create an acoustically live performance space. Note, no amplification will be permitted.Since each performance is only one minute, the music and the experience need to penetrate as fast as possible, the booming acoustics are part for the intended experience. Musicians are expected to adjust their dynamic range to play for the space..
Participating musicians must accept the performance space “as is.” Selected musicians will not have access to the containers in advance for rehearsal. Celebrity Series will make best efforts to adequately prepare the musicians for the space and sound expectations.
Each individual musician will be paid $85 an hour by check. We ask that all musicians sign up for at least 2 hours of participation. Selected musicians will be required to sign and submit: a contract including a strict cancellation agreement, W-9 and a Google contact form in order to have a check mailed no later than October 15, 2019.
The genesis of this project came from Rayna asking “How brave can we be?” Her desire was to create a space where musician and listener can meet as equals, where there is no ego or judgement, where musician and listener can look each other in the eye.
The musician will not know in advance who he/she will be playing for, and the listener will not be given advance information on the repertoire nor the musician before entering. Each interaction will be unique and unpredictable. One minute is shorter than a concerto or a simple street tune, but is more than enough to create strong emotional bonds and bring forward honest dialogue.
Promotion and Marketing
Celebrity Series anticipates that 5,000+ people will experience Concert For One over a ten day period. Musicians will be promoted through the Celebrity Series marketing department and outside public relations firm as participants in the project. Through media and paid marketing we are happy to promote your involvement in Concert For One. HOWEVER. we will not advertise the specific times in which the musicians will perform, as that would run in contrast to the spirit of the project.
Photo and Video Shoot
In June 2019 musicians will be asked to participate in a voluntary photo and video shoot conducted by our in-house professional photographer and videographer. These videos and photos will be used to promote the project and the individual artist participation throughout the summer. Celebrity Series will also give the musicians the photos and videos for their own personal use as well. We strongly encourage participation from everyone involved in the project.
Scheduling and Arrival Instructions
More details about specific times and schedules will be distributed to selected musicians In August. There will be an online signup system as well as a dedicated company manager who will work to schedule all musicians.
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR
- Solo musicians, one application per musician please. Applications that represent an ensemble or a player that requires an accompanist should not apply. If you are a vocalist you must perform without accompanist or be your own accompanist.
- Musicians with a significant level of accomplishment via professional and/or performance experience or musical education.
- Musicians enthusiastic to play in an unconventional setting and who are eager to be part of this unique community event and social experiment!
- Musicians who live or work in the greater Boston or Cambridge Metro area*
- Musicians who can demonstrate a high level of commitment and professionalism-there will be a strict cancellation agreement.
- This project wishes to represent the diverse ages, backgrounds, cultural identities, ethnicities, ranges of education, and styles of artistic expression of local musicians performing in Boston or Cambridge.
- The project is open to a wide range of musical genres including but not limited to, Classical, Jazz, World, Bluegrass, Soul, Contemporary etc... However, we will be looking for musicians who play instruments appropriate for this particular setting. For example, due to the size of the room (10x10), instruments that are more ideal for small spaces are preferred, such as piano, strings, and woodwinds. We will be looking for musicians who are prepared to perform solo (without amplification) in an intimate and somewhat unusual setting. In addition, due to the short time frame, instruments that require time to set up are not ideal. The experience should be seen as a “carry in/ carry out” unless you are a pianist as a piano will be provided.
- Must be at least 18 to participate.
* *Residents or those working in one of the 23 neighborhoods of Boston are highly encouraged to apply. We are eager to ensure city-wide participation and encourage artist participants from Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury, Roslindale and South Boston.