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First let me say that I am a great supporter of professional musicians and for many years was on the board of the Oregon Mozart Players, a fine professional chamber orchestra in Eugene. I thoroughly enjoy first-class chamber orchestra and woodwind chamber music concerts. (For some reason, I always nod off at string quartets, no matter who is playing.)
Now let me put in a plug for us amateurs. One of the special joys of chamber music is that it's not that hard to put together a small group of players of comparable abilities and get enormous joy out of playing accessible music. A lot of the chamber repertoire from the 18th and 19th centuries was meant to be played in intimate settings, so it's naturally suited to playing for fun (which doesn't mean not working hard) and for small audiences of friends and relatives. Much of the 20th century stuff, even if intended for the concert hall, also works in small venues.
Eugene is fortunate to have a city-supported series of free public concerts every Saturday afternoon, with performers including some of the best local amateurs. In the past year or so I've had the pleasure of playing some pretty serious woodwind quintet music in those concerts as well as performing an almost world premiere with The Uncalled Four bassoon quartet. Sure we're not perfect, but we and the audiences have fun with live "classical" music in an informal setting. Kids are welcome if they can sit still.
And of course there are dozens of amateur gigs here every year in places such as retirement centers, museum receptions, parties and the like.
Let's not automatically think of the value of chamber music as only related to professional performances.
posted 2 years, 10 months ago
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