Gamze Kazakoglu, Contributing Photographer

Music Haven – a tuition-free music institution that provides musical instruments and lessons for students in New Haven – hosted a virtual concert on March 20.

The show, hosted by Music Haven board member John Taylor, was the fourth in Music Haven’s ongoing concert series “Album Drop.” This series includes a short movie chronicling Music Haven musicians’ rehearsal processes and post-pandemic adjustments to introducing and teaching diverse music to audiences. The concert was divided into performances by Music Haven students at the Haven String Quartet, as well as a Q&A session.

“I joined Music Haven because of their deep commitment to equity and excellence for all young people,” Taylor said to the audience.

At the beginning, the students played 17th century tune “Viva La Musica” on violin. 

Annalisa Boerner, violist for the Haven String Quartet and senior resident musician in Music Haven, was the evening’s featured solo artist. Boerner played a piece called “Perfect Storm” by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Shulamit Ran. Boerner provided context about the piece, including excerpts from the piece’s central motif from the first of 20th-century composer Luciano Berio’s “Folk Songs,” before performing the full work.

When selecting her piece, Boerner paid particular attention to the works of underrepresented composers. She noted that it is often difficult for audience members to understand certain types of pieces without a traditional music education. As a result, Boerner reflected upon how she could create an artistic experience that would communicate a non-traditional western European musical language upon first listening.

Boerner said that performing on Zoom was a unique experience for her.

“I think that Zoom fatigue can sometimes be related to looking at yourself,” Boerner said. “We’re not used to having mirrors all the time. This was the first time I had to look at myself as I performed because usually, I’m just in the music.”

Philip Boulanger, the Haven String Quartet’s cellist, performed next. After providing some information about the six Solo Cello Suites by Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, he played the first of the six, which is in G Major, for the audience.

Then, the Haven String Quartet played the night’s final piece, “Metro Chabacano” by Mexican composer Javier Alvarez. 

“We’re very lucky that the space we have in Music Haven, which we normally use for large group classes, quartet rehearsals and things like that, has absolutely wonderful acoustics,” Boulanger said.

During the event’s Q&A segment, students and musicians answered audience questions via Zoom’s chat function. Performers touched on their reasons behind selecting the evening’s repertoire and audio setups.

“I like the community engagements of my performances,” Boerner said. “I like that there is a chat, people can say their feelings without interrupting the performance. I think I’ll really miss that once we go to our silent concert halls with us on stage.”

The event, like all of Music Haven’s virtual concerts, was free of charge. But Taylor encouraged the audience to consider donating to the institution to support their after school program. 

Music Haven was founded in 2006 by Tina Lee Hadari MUS ’04.

Gamze Kazakoglu | gamze.kazakoglu@yale.edu