Forming virtual communities around music during the pandemic

Posted on: December 11, 2020

“When a soprano’s voice blooms on a high C, I want to turn to the person next to me with a grin and say exactly what color the note reminds me of,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Wednesday’s (12/9) New York Times. “But for all the communal energy of live classical performances, they are fundamentally solitary events; shushing is still common…. As the classical field moved onto the internet, the experience everyone has long had with Super Bowl commercials and the Oscars became the experience I had with recitals, symphonies and operas: I chatted my way through them, in text chains that started with a message out of nowhere (‘Are you WATCHING this?’) and flowed for hours from there…. Unplanned, shared streams of consciousness … sprouted when the pianist Conrad Tao played Frederic Rzewski’s fiery variations on ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’ in his apartment….. After this crisis is over, I certainly don’t ever want to be thumbing my phone during a ‘real’ performance…. But I hope we all carry with us into a healthier future a renewed appreciation for the community that can form—with sublime spontaneity, and even virtually—around music.”