This week I had the pleasure of seeing students from the Juilliard School perform chamber music as part of a free public concert series. The famous school is part of the Lincoln Center performing arts complex located at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Broadway. Trivia: In the last few weeks before the complex was built, West Side Story was filmed here!
The chamber music took my breath away! It was completely free of embellishment of any kind: no MC making introductions and revving up the crowd, no announcement of the performers names. I, and an audience of a couple of hundred elderly folk and the occasional grandchild, simply entered Alice Tully Hall, accepted an A4 photocopied program, took our seats and prepared to be amazed by the young performers who calmly and quietly walked onstage.
Over the next hour we enjoyed two separate performances, the first featured two violins, a viola and a cello, and as a special treat the second act introduced a grand piano. I couldn’t believe how rich the music was and how without any amplification it filled the entire hall (about half the size of Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre).
Definitely money well (not) spent! They have heaps of free performances each week, probably to build students’ confidence, so visitors’ take note! When you get to New York be sure to check their calendar of events.