Guest Blog Post: Concert Etiquette and Clapping Between Movements by Katie Heilman

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Today’s blog post is written by guest, Katie Heilman. Katie is a regular attendee at Schubert Club concerts, a member of Schubert Club’s Theoroi program, program assistant at GTCYS (Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony), composer, and oboist. Learn more about Katie here.


Have you ever been to another country and found yourself confused by the customs of everyday life surrounding you? Or have you gone to a wedding of a different culture from your own and saw people saying certain things at certain times or dressing a certain way, and you felt out of place?

I’ve had several conversations recently with friends and colleagues about the state of classical music and diversity. One thing I’ve been thinking about in particular lately is concert etiquette. Concert etiquette is what I suspect turns many people off from attending classical music concerts (besides cost). There’s this idea that classical music is really stuffy, and when you think about it… it kind of is. Most concerts in other musical genres expect noisy audiences, clapping when you like something, and coming and going as you need to. Not so with classical concerts. The vast majority of classical concerts expect audiences to be quiet, only clap at the very end of the piece, and you better not leave during the middle of a piece!

I grew up in a musical family and didn’t learn that you weren’t supposed to clap in between movements until I was at a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert, probably in late middle school (a few years after I’d started playing an instrument), and I started clapping after the first movement of whatever symphony they were playing, because it just made sense. It wasn’t until I got a weird look from my mom that I realized that wasn’t “okay.” When people start clapping between movements of a piece, I see that same weird look get passed along through the “regulars” at the concert. I’ve seen this happen twice in the last few months. The first was during the Sphinx Virtuosi concert at the Ordway, where the vast majority of the audience was people of color (especially younger people of color). The second was just this past weekend, when the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performed Mozart’s third violin concerto to an audience with several students (they all certainly looked younger than me). The common thread between these two audiences, besides clapping between movements? They weren’t your stereotypical classical music demographic!

Here’s my philosophy on clapping between movements (or other “breaches” of classical etiquette): if people are clapping between each movement, they aren’t necessarily being rude. It’s probably because they don’t know about this weird tradition we have that really only dates back to the end of the 19th century or so. That means there’s a good chance they’re probably first-timers at an orchestra concert, which is awesome! And yes, there are some pieces where’s it’s nice to have that silence in between movements (slow Mahler for sure), but Mozart or Haydn? Clapping in between movements was standard back in their day – sometimes, if the audience really liked something, they’d demand a second run-through of a movement or section. I’ve attended a bunch of more “informal” chamber concerts at coffee shops and art museums where you’ll even have people chatting in the background. For a first-timer at a classical concert, going to the orchestra probably feels the same as being a foreigner in another country. There are so many customs that we’ve been doing for years that a newbie isn’t going to automatically know, and they might feel lost and alienated when people stare at them for not doing the “correct” procedures.

It’s great when the administrative side of an organization is working to bring in new audiences, but in order for this to be successful, we as current audience members need to be more welcoming and patient when new audiences don’t automatically know the culture. Administrators, if you really want to make sure that your program is quiet and that audiences wait until the end to clap, then just make an announcement before the concert. They do this sometimes at the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra when they have a program that interweaves other pieces throughout a larger piece, and it doesn’t feel out of place at all. Imagine how much more welcomed new audience members would feel if we let them know when it’s appropriate to clap, instead of assuming? It’s like when you have someone over to your house for a party, and you let them know where the restroom is, where to leave their coat, and where to put the food they brought. On the other hand, maybe it’s time to take a lesson from the newcomers and bring back clapping between movements of certain pieces. Trust me, Haydn is a lot more fun when you let yourself get a little rowdy.

An Interview with Schubert Club President Dorothy Horns

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For today’s blog post, our Patron Relations Manager, Kelsey Norton, conducted a short interview with current Board President, Dorothy Horns. 

  1. How long have you been involved with Schubert Club, and how did you make the decision to accept becoming board president?
    My husband and I have been subscribers since we returned to Minnesota in the early 1980s.  Bruce Carlson asked me to be on the Board; I started my Board service in 2006. I love that this is a board of music lovers who come from all walks of life and who actively participate in the Board. I was delighted to be asked to lead such a great group of people who support such a fantastic organization. And, as Board president I get to work even more closely with the wonderful, dedicated, hardworking Schubert Club staff.
  1. What makes the Schubert Club mission meaningful to you?
    Schubert Club’s threefold emphasis on concert presentation, museum, and education.
  1. What are some of the future goals you want to achieve as Schubert Club Board President?
    I want to see Schubert Club continue to present top-quality performances at reasonable prices, introduce as many people as possible to the joys of chamber and recital music, diversify our audiences, present music by composers of diverse backgrounds, let the world know about our fabulous Museum, expand educational programs to help build the next generation of music lovers… I could go on and on with a lot more ideas!
  1. Do you have a history with classical music?
    I was lucky to have parents who believed that a liberal, humanistic education is necessary to living an informed, rich life. A crucial part of this was exposure to the arts. They started taking us to Minnesota Orchestra concerts and Metropolitan Opera performances at Northrop Auditorium when we were in grade school. I sang in the church, school, and college choir, and studied piano, clarinet (school band), and classical guitar.  Most recently I had the good fortune to study piano with Mary Barbara Ferguson Spake, daughter of Donald Ferguson. What a pleasure that was! All these experiences gave me a deep appreciation of music that informs my current position as a professional audience member.
  1. Have you served on any other boards in the Twin Cities?
    I was on a Minnesota Opera junior board in the 1980s. In my professional arena, I was President of the University of Minnesota Medical School Alumni Society in the 1990s. The rest of my spare time has been spent working with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Ophthalmology.
  1. Which is your personal favorite of Schubert Club’s music series to attend?
    I love them all. Some of my happiest hours have been spent in concert halls.
  1. What do you do outside of your work with Schubert Club? How do you most enjoy spending free time?
    I am a physician, an ophthalmologist specializing in the treatment of glaucoma. I am spending a lot of time working on a committee at the medical school. Free time? What free time?
  1. In your opinion, why is classical music still important in today’s society?
    Well, I agree with the Schubert Club tagline: “Because what is life without music.” All music can communicate directly with the soul without words or images.  Classical music has a rich language, simply by listening you can understand it and be transported and transformed.

Video Blog: Schubert Club’s Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition

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At our Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship competition earlier in 2017, Schubert Club board member and media professional Peter Myers roved the corridors and practice rooms of Augsburg University’s music department with a video camera, talking to students about the competition, about what it means to be a competitor and what they get out of participating.  

November is here and applications for the 2018 Student Scholarship Competition are now being accepted!   The competition will take place in February/March 2018.  We award scholarships totaling over $50,000 annually to young musicians to be used for further musical education.  Check out the new video which shines a light on what makes the competition so special, from the mouths of our competitors themselves. Take a look, and whether you’re a music student yourself or know a budding young musician, be sure to tell everyone to get their applications in by January 19, 2018

 

What Makes a Great Place For a Concert?

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One reason (of many) why I find my position at the Schubert Club so interesting is that we present concerts and recitals in so many venues. It means that I am always happy to hear from people about performance spaces they’ve enjoyed. Though I’ve lived in the Twin Cities since 1995 (with a 5-year hiatus in London), and I’ve been lucky to attend many live arts events all over the place, I am still learning about new spaces where Schubert Club might present live music. This curiosity for new venues is especially relevant for our Schubert Club Mix series which got underway for its fifth season last week at Aria in Minneapolis.

Mix (as it is inevitably shortened to) is our concert series designed to appeal to music lovers who prefer live performances with less formality and concert ritual. We’re intentionally informal; artists interact with the audience more; and we go to extra efforts to make the ambiance in the venue more relaxed than it is likely to be in a more traditional concert hall like our wonderful Ordway (home of the International Artist Series) or a church like St Anthony Park UCC (home of Music in the Park Series). 

As we plan future years of Schubert Club Mix, I will always be on the look out for new and interesting spaces. There are three primary criteria in a space which factor in assessing a space’s suitability for presenting concerts: Acoustic, location, & ambiance.

Acoustic: kind of obvious, but not all big rooms with large volumes sound the same. We’re blessed in the Twin Cities with several venues which have truly world-class acoustics for unamplified music – the Ordway and Orchestra Hall are at the top of that list. The recent removal of carpet and other changes at St Anthony Park’s United Church of Christ have made an extraordinary difference, making this church a wonderful place to listen to chamber music. Not all venues can have superlative acoustics though. What I always look for is a balance of resonance and clarity, and the confidence that the sound produced by musicians and their instruments really fills the space.

Location: it’s not only important to present concerts in locations which are convenient for an audience to get to, but also that they have amenities close by like parking, restaurants and bars and that the whole experience of going out for the evening feels safe and enjoyable. 

Ambiance:  slightly more difficult to put one’s finger on, ambiance is, I believe, hugely significant to an audience member’s enjoyment of an event – and thus an important factor in the decision whether to return another time. Ambiance can be created by the look or architecture of a space, its history, the welcome of our staff and ushers, lighting, even an aroma or some kind of association that is personal to an individual. A great example of this is the comment I hear regularly at Aria when audience members nostalgically remember performances by Theater de la Jeune Lune ten or more years ago.

Since Schubert Club has no primary performance space, we will always be on the look out for new possible venues. This nomadic approach to presenting concerts is, I think, a strength and opportunity for Schubert Club.  We can seek out spaces which suit different performers and meet the needs of different audience members. As our new strategic plan calls for the organization to make connections with new communities, we need to pursue our curiosity to find gathering spaces which we haven’t yet come across.  I’ll be pleased to hear from anyone who has venues or community connections they would like to recommend.

 

 

 

 

Join us for the first ever “First Thursday” in the Schubert Club Museum

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Today’s blog post is by Education & Museum Director, Kate Cooper. 

So often I hear from visitors of the Schubert Club Museum how surprised they are that we have such an impressive collection of historical music instruments and original manuscripts in addition to the opportunities they have to interact with items in the collection, adding to a memorable hands-on experience. The phrase “….a hidden gem in the Twin Cities” is relayed to me almost weekly.

Since the opening of our galleries on the 2nd floor of Landmark Center, the Museum has been open to the public weekday afternoons from Noon-4 pm in addition to Sunday afternoons. We feel like there is a segment of the Twin Cities population that has been missing out on this “hidden gem” primarily because it is not accessible during hours that are convenient to them. Those visitors who work 9-5 during the week and have other priorities on Sundays really never get the opportunity to visit!

Thus, we are thrilled to announce extended hours in the museum on the first Thursday of every month from 4-8 pm beginning October 5. We hope to be more accessible to the daytime working crowd; we are trying to be more symbiotic with times that people are heading or staying downtown with social and entertainment plans; and we are designating this one evening to offer opportunities separate from school and other public daytime tour crowds.

In addition to the engaging permanent collection, visitors can experience during these extended hours: guided tours, live demonstrations, fun interactive music-making, trivia contests with opportunities to win tickets for Schubert Club performances. And while exploring, visitors 21+ can enjoy a glass of wine along with appetizers and other refreshments for all! 

We hope to see visitors returning several late evenings throughout the year. There will always be something new to see, hear and experience and unique fascinating facts about music and history to learn.  

This first late evening in October will feature our favorite keyboard technician and research specialist, Steve Misener, who will demonstrate cool things and tell fascinating stories about three 18th and 19th century English keyboards.  The first time I saw Steve “dissect” a keyboard I was completely captivated by the intricacies of these magnificent instruments and how the parts all work together to produce their beautiful sounds. Steve also has a gift for remembering and sharing the fascinating stories behind these instruments and their makers.

In addition, we will have keyboardist Donald Livingston compare two of our 18th and 19th century keyboard replicas, the way they work, the musicians who played them, and the most famous pieces relevant to each. Visitors will have an opportunity to plunk out few notes of their own on these instruments as well.

This fun and fact-filled evening of short segments of music talks and demonstrations will enlighten and entertain! It will be a very relaxed atmosphere and there’s no pressure to take part in anything if you’d happily just explore the galleries and enjoy a glass of wine with friends. There will be plenty of joyful sounds filling the galleries – from visitors trying their hand at Indonesian gamelan music, a historic music box playing a beautiful tune filled with chiming bells, or Donald performing a charming Baroque piece on an 18th century French harpsichord replica. Be sure to mark your first Thursday evenings on the calendar, and I’ll look forward to seeing you in the galleries!

Congratulations to Clara Osowski and Tyler Wottrich who won the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder at Wigmore Hall, London

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Congratulations to local mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski and pianist Tyler Wottrich who were finalists in the recent Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London, and indeed they won the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder.  Clara’s outstanding voice and magical song interpretations are very familiar to Schubert Club regulars and supporters of the Source Song Festival.  

The day after the competition, Clara and Tyler were interviewed on BBC Radio 3  by Ian Skelly.  The 2 hour radio show, “In Tune” can be heard here for another 3 weeks.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b093m4kc
Clara and Tyler’s interview and song performances begin at about 3 minutes and end at 22 minutes.

There is also a lovely review of their performance in the competition itself in Britain’s Daily Telegraph.  
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/romanian-hero-brought-vividly-life-enescu-festival-bucharest/

2017-2022 Strategic Plan

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The Schubert Club Board of Directors recently adopted a new five year strategic plan for the period 2017-2022. This plan took shape over the course of the past 12 months with input from Board Members, staff, audience, community members and donors. It is our intention to use it as we would us a map, helping us to strengthen our programs and to cultivate new community connections through a shared passion for music.

KEY STRATEGY 1: Invest in new and expanded program initiatives to advance Schubert Club as an innovative and nationally recognized classical music presenter with a strong commitment to music education.

KEY STRATEGY 2: Broaden Schubert Club’s scope of service in the Twin Cities community.

KEY STRATEGY 3: Enhance Schubert Club’s impact on concert audiences, Museum visitors and education participants through interaction, learning and new technology opportunities.

KEY STRATEGY 4: Build strong governance and institutional resources to ensure the long-term ability of Schubert Club to respond to opportunities and pursue new initiatives.

View the Plan Here

Announcing the 2017 An die Musik recipient: Nancy Weyerhaeuser

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The An die Musik Award is Schubert Club’s highest honor. It’s presented annually to one classical music enthusiast whose outstanding dedication and commitment over many years has significantly furthered the work and mission of Schubert Club. It is announced and presented at our Annual Meeting. This year’s well-deserved recipient is Nancy Weyerhaeuser.

Nancy’s involvement with and commitment to the Schubert Club goes back more years than we can imagine.  Since her mother Catherine Neimeyer was President of the Schubert Club Board some 60 years ago, it appears that Nancy had no choice but to be immersed in Schubert Club music and ideas from an early age. A past member of the Board of Directors, a member of the erst-while Corporate Board, a founding member of the Advisory Circle, a still-very-active community member of the Nominating & Governance Committee with apparently unlimited ideas for potential new board members, a subscriber with husband Ted for more decades than we have records, a generous and engaged supporter of all we do, the list of Nancy’s commitment to the Schubert Club is extensive. She and Ted established the John and Catherine Neimeyer International Artist Series Endowment Fund in memory of Nancy’s parents. She and Ted were Honorary Chairs of our 130th Anniversary Gala concert featuring the great American Soprano, Jessye Norman. Because of Nancy’s commitment and thoughtfulness, in addition to her love for music and the Schubert Club, we are honored to award her the 2017 An die Musik Award. 

Bach to Basics Trivia Quiz Answers

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At last week’s Schubert Club Mix featuring music by Philip Glass and Johan Sebastian Bach played by Christopher O’Riley, we had a pre-concert trivia quiz.  Thanks to former Schubert Club intern Quinn Shadko for researching and presenting the quiz.

Here are the answers to our Bach to Basics trivia quiz:

Sound Round

  1. The Beach Boys, “Lady Lynda” (Bach – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring)
  2. Xzibit featuring Dr. Dre, “Symphony in X Major” (Bach – Brandenburg #3)
  3. Paul Simon, “American Tune” (Bach – St. Matthew’s Passion)
  4. Alicia Keys, “Karma” (Brahms – Violin Concerto)
  5. The Toys, “Lover’s Concerto” (Bach – Minuet in G)

Identification

A: Mozart

  1.  

A: Mendelssohn

  1.  

A: Schoenberg

  1.  

A: Brahms

  1.  

A: Chopin

General Knowledge

Q:Who is attributed with saying that Bach is “the immortal god of harmony?”
A: Beethoven

Q: Bach once walked a great distance to hear his favorite organist, Dietrich Buxtehude, perform. How many miles did he walk?
A: 250 miles

Q: What famous film features Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor during a baptism scene?
A: The Godfather

Q: What Broadway musical draws from Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for one of its main themes?
A: The Phantom of the Opera

Q: What is the common title of Bach’s comic cantata that directly translates from German as “Be still, stop chattering?”
A: The Coffee Cantata

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An Endowment: what is it and why does it matter?

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Schubert Club has an Endowment Fund. We are very fortunate to have this Fund  — a vital piece of the organizational and financial puzzle challenging today’s non-profit organizations. I thought I would write my blog today about our Endowment and provide, I hope, some clarity around what it is and what it does for Schubert Club’s programming.

First, what do we mean by “Endowment”? An Endowment is a long-term or perpetual investment owned by an organization that generates income to fund its ongoing mission. The gifts that are given to the Endowment are not spent; they remain invested in stocks, bonds and other investment vehicles, managed either directly or indirectly by the Board of Directors.

The first Schubert Club Scholarship Fund was established back in 1922 on the occasion of Schubert Club’s 40th anniversary!  Over the years, a significant number of donors have added to the endowment with generous gifts and bequests. Some donors may wish to support a particular program, to honor a person, or simply to express their belief in the organization’s mission; but in all cases, the reason Endowment gifts are made is to help ensure the long-term stability of Schubert Club. The current value of our Endowment is approximately $15 million.

Each year, the Board authorizes a certain percentage to be withdrawn from the Endowment to fund programming. Of course we all know that the value of investment portfolios can go down as well as up. So, the Endowment draw authorized by the Board of Directors needs to be small enough to reasonably allow the fund to sustain itself for future years, and large enough to actually fulfill the Endowment’s mission-related purpose each year. This year, Schubert Club’s Endowment draw is 4.5%.

Of Schubert Club’s annual draw, about 70% is restricted by donors for specific programs, and the other 30% is available for general operating purposes. In the current year, the Endowment draw amounts to 28% of our total revenue. The rest comes primarily from ticket sales, donations, grants and sponsorships.

What does our Endowment Fund pay for? Donors over time have made endowment gifts to support Schubert Club’s overall mission in the Operating Fund, as well as to support specific programs. There are five specific areas of programming that the Endowment funds:

  1. The Concert Fund supports primarily our International Artist Series. It pays for some of the artist fees and concert production costs, allowing us to keep ticket prices affordable. You’re unlikely to be able to buy top price tickets to a 5-performance recital series featuring artists like Renée Fleming and Sir András Schiff anywhere else in the country for $200! 
  2. The Music in the Park Series Fund was added in 2014 to help support that wonderful concert series.
  3. The Scholarship Fund supports student musicians through the Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition, the Special Music Grants program, and the Jazz Piano Workshop day.
  4. The Education Fund supports the Schubert Club’s education and outreach programs, which are offered at free or reduced cost to participants.
  5. The Museum Fund has enabled us to keep Museum admission free.   

Endowment giving is not possible for everyone, but it’s certainly not just for wealthy music lovers. Consider this: an endowment gift or provision in your will of $5,000 will generate $225 every year (4.5% of $5,000). Similarly, $10,000 will generate $450 annually.  Every endowment gift, be it $50,000 or $5,000, is meaningful  because it contributes to Schubert Club’s ability to offer our programs to people who share our love of music without the barrier of high prices. 

If music is important to you and if you believe Schubert Club is playing a role in your musical life and in the musical life of the Twin Cities community, please give it some thought.  You can really make a difference.