Mark Gresham | 11 JUN 2020
in what is an uncommon collaboration for this city, three of Atlanta’s premier chamber music ensembles – Atlanta Chamber Players, Georgian Chamber Players, Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta – and First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, will come together for a free online live-streamed concert this Sunday at 2pm, to be performed at First Presbyterian Church.
A recent press release announcing the event, expressed the musicians’ collective hope that the concert will generate more public awareness about what is currently happening to the music world during this time of pandemic, and the fact that the near-future prospects for live concerts remain are bleak. All nine musicians involved are performing this concert pro bono as a way of showing that they are refusing to recede into the shadows and are prepared and ready to perform to live audiences again when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, musicians remain out of work and audiences continue to be starved for in-person music experiences. When it will actually end remains not easy to predict. And there remains the fear that a second wave of pandemic could come late in the year.
However, there are some signs of hope emerging. Late this afternoon (Thursday), georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp announced a new executive order which includes allowing “performance venues” to re-open on July 1. A press release form the Governor’s Office describes that section of the order in these words:
EarRelevant anticipate being able to report more details about the order tomorrow, especially as applies to small classical and post-classical and jazz concerts.
For Sunday’s concert, violinists David Coucheron & Helen Hwaya Kim; violist Yinzi Kong; cellists Charae Krueger and Christopher Rex, organist Jens Korndoerfer; and pianists Julie Coucheron, Elizabeth Pridgen & William Ransom will perform a varied program of classical music by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Mozart, Beethoven, Max Richter, Widor, Brahms and Dvořák. The concert will be viewable by livestream at firstpresatl.org/concerts-at-first/ or on Facebook at facebook.com/ConcertsAtFirstPresAtl
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, located just north of the Woodruff Arts Center campus on Peachtree Street, is well-known as a presenter of its Concerts @ First series, but due to the ongoing pandemic, the church’s governance has wisely decided to keep the church closed to the congregation and general public until the end of July, so will not be hosting any live concerts until at least after that date.
The church has, however, already planned a 2020/21 concert season, with a special focus on showcasing heir brand-new Steinway D piano, which arrived at the church in May. That instrument will also be prominently featured in this Sunday’s concert. Their hope is to have both a live audience for the concerts and at the same time live-stream them to the internet – having noticed that their recent live-stream-only presentations have reached people from around the world., bringing attention to Atlanta and its local classical music community. If the pandemic continues into the fall and does not allow for live audiences, the concerts will still take place but will be live streamed only.
Hopefully one of the positive outcomes of Sunday’s concert will be more collaboration and coordination between the different ensembles of Atlanta’s chamber music community. There already is a great deal of crossover in the roster of musicians who play in them. Perhaps a heightened sense of cooperation among local chamber groups in time of crisis will ultimately strengthen the city’s chamber music community as a whole. : ■