Because audiences cannot gather in large groups for in-person performances, livestreamed concerts have become a primary means of musical sustenance for both audiences and performers. But these performances are not merely providing security through music; many gig-based professionals whose shows have been canceled now look to livestreamed concerts for financial sustenance.
On Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m., several School of Music alumni will inaugurate their concert series “Home2Home: A Concert Series by Yale School of Music Alumni.” Four alumni — Felice Doynov MUS ’17, Florrie Marshall MUS ’18, Jonathan Salamon MUS ’17 ’23 and Alexandra Simpson MUS ’17 ’18 — organized the series in partnership with The Sound Bridges, Marshall’s nonprofit organization. According to the organization’s website, The Sound Bridges’ mission is to build “bridges of understanding” through conversation between communities and artists. The Home2Home concert series seeks to do exactly that.
The concert, which will take place on The Sound Bridges’ website, will feature 10 recent graduates of the School of Music. Afterward, the performers will host a Zoom reception, where the audience can interact with the artists.
“We have been trying to find another revenue stream for musicians, but also connect and create a virtual community,” Doynov said. “We want to put the focus back on the musicians and value our performance.”
The organizers were inspired by other livestreamed concerts that left a lasting impression. Like many of these performances, the concert will be free of charge, but attendees will be able to make tax-deductible donations for division among the performers.
According to Simpson, freelancers “don’t have an institution or like one singular institution who gives us a paycheck.” She also described the “overnight” shift from financial security to wondering how to pay rent.
“We’re pretty unprotected in times like these,” Simpson said.
The organizers asked their friends from the School of Music to perform a personally meaningful piece. The program will feature music across time periods and styles, from Bach and Handel to Davitashvili — a female composer from the country of Georgia — and an original composition by one of the performers, Ryan Davis. The concert also includes a range of instruments: harpsichord, clarinet, bassoon, piano, viola, oboe and guitar.
“Though there is no longer the intimate relation between the performer and the audience, challenging ourselves to livestream or record pushes us to experience the unknown,” said pianist Sophiko Simsive MUS ’18 ’19, who will perform in the concert. “We are pushed out of our comfort zone, and this is precisely what helps us grow. At the end, the best gift for any musician or artist is to share their art. Online platforms are wonderful, sometimes terrifying, but at the end, a very rewarding experience that every musician should try at least once.”
The organizers decided that for the first Home2Home concert, the performers will pre-record their parts. The curated video will be released at 8 p.m. on their YouTube channel. Salamon explained that this would prevent “unforeseen glitches in technology” and ensure smooth transitions between artists, each of whom is recording their set from their home.
Throughout the week leading up to the concert, the Home2Home Facebook page will post short clips of the performing artists discussing their chosen music.
“It’s another chance for the artists to connect to their listeners, but also for them to really get to share their excitement for the piece that they’re playing,” Marshall said.
Because the concert series features exclusively Yale alumni, it also allows artists to reconnect with their peers, and establish new relationships with other members of the community.
Friday’s concert also aims to use the performers’ Yale affiliation to support COVID-19 relief efforts in New Haven. The event links to a donation page for the Yale New Haven Hospital and a page that lists ways to volunteer help with the outbreak in New Haven.
“Given today’s circumstances, we are challenged in so many different ways,” Simsive said. “While we get used to ‘new normal,’ it is events such as these that keep us motivated to keep going, keep practicing and share music.”
Simpson said that the series, or something similar, could continue after the coronavirus outbreak. After the April show, the next Home2Home concert will take place on Friday, May 15.
Phoebe Liu | firstname.lastname@example.org