PROGRAM 1: PERFORMANCE, LECTURE, AND Q&A IN SCHOOLS
Quartetto Gelato is able to perform three different types of educational activities. In all of them, the quartet presents in a casual, fun atmosphere.
Quartetto Gelato tries to adapt the performance to the musical background of the students. In all shows, the quartet emphasizes the “team approach” to music. Each piece features a different member and the styles of music range from tango to classical chamber music to gypsy fiddling and blues singing. Each member introduces his/her own instrument and piece and describes his/her background. Two members began their musical training through the public school system. The motto of the group is that no matter what career path a student might choose he should do it with conviction. There is a limited amount of audience participation. The concert ends with a question and answer period and the whole presentation lasts 45-50 minutes.
In this case, the students must have at least a basic musical experience. The quartet members can go into a little more depth with the students than in the case of the school show. The non-verbal aspect of chamber music is stressed and the basic protocol of rehearsing is discussed: i.e.) each member coaches (teaches) the other members. The presentation begins and ends with a short performance. With more advanced students the quartet may conduct an open rehearsal. QG can generally go into more detail if the classes are small (35-50 students) and in that case welcome questions throughout the class. The class may be up to an hour in length.
Quartetto Gelato can give two different types of master-classes: for individual instruments and for preformed ensembles. The ensembles should be made up of advanced high school level students or be at a university/college level. In either case, QG expects the students to be able to play a prepared piece that one or more members of the quartet will coach in front of other students.
PROGRAM 2: “THINKING OUTSIDE THE ORCHESTRAL BOX”
Everyone is susceptible to daily economic challenges. Artists may be affected sooner than the rest of the economy as our “products” are often considered “luxury items”. However, if we study history, we often learn that difficult times often resulted in the greatest works of art. Therefore, perhaps we should say difficult times may create opportunities for those working in the arts.
The “knock-on” effects on the artistic community of the events of September 11th (Broadway shows closing down etc.) and the Toronto Symphony’s recent brush with bankruptcy (among other North American orchestras) seem to have the potential to undermine aspiring students’ career plans. We feel that Quartetto Gelato (differing from that of traditional classical ensembles) can offer hope and essential lessons to students, by both exploring the possibilities of alternative paths in music performance, and offering advice on structure and organization, both musical and financial.