Music, more than ever, has the power to liberate the human mind and heart.
The modern music lover today enjoys unprecedented access to the great treasures of music, a level of access unthinkable even 50 years ago.
Yet we find ourselves less prepared than ever to receive these treasures.
We find ourselves caught between two sides increasingly estranged from one another – the scholars, experts and virtuosic performers on the one side, and a listening public who knows nothing about classical – or art – music.
Music appreciation programs though well-meaning and even very informative tend to widen the gulf – by presenting classical music only through the eyes of the virtuoso performer, the scholar or the critic.
The problems of the listener as listener are overlooked.
Welcome to The Listeners’ Studio: a music-centered conversation.
Where the practice of unhurried reading
and rigorous Socratic conversation
meets classical music.
No reading about the music.
No history. No biography.
Just the Music.
Our mission is to awaken and inspire a certain possibility for a music listener.
Western art music goes hand and hand with learning and the spirit of education.
Most of us cannot read musical notation, and know nothing about music theory. But the truth is that we can learn exactly what we need to follow along with a score.
Far from killing passion, learning to follow a score, and using our minds, only deepens our feeling, heightens our sensitivity to the range of music-making.
A great musical score is like a book, the primary source.
The musicians and conductors interpret this source, and offer virtuosic performances – and each performance is different enough that they all shine a light on different corners of the music.
Carefully listening and comparing each to each, together with the primary source score, a heightened sense of music is awakened that may only be surpassed by virtuoso performers themselves.
Our dream is this: in the same way you get a copy of a book and read, why not get a copy of a musical score, and then – following along with the score – listen to as many recordings as you can of different performances?
We have access today to recorded music that was unthinkable even a generation ago. Could we listeners and lovers of learning make it a sort hobby, a preoccupation we turn to in our leisure hours for delight, refreshment and endless interest?
Let’s say you notice that your local philharmonic will be playing a Shostakovich or Beethoven Symphony next month. What if you prepare for this event? How much more could you get out of the experience? Why not get a copy of the score (you can find and download free scores here), following along with as many different recordings as you can, in preparation for the live performance?
Listening to many different recorded performances – representing a wide range of thoughts and feelings about the music – will free your mind from just one way to hear the piece of music. And it will enhance the pleasure you get from listening to that live performance.
There is a joy here that cannot be found in any other way. And it is a joy that brings an immeasurable good into your life.
We need all the good we can get, and all the good we can share, in today’s world.
And our hope is that you have a chance to experience it first hand!
Great music needs great listeners.
And great listeners need each other:
Listening is better together.
Listeners’ Studio Online Offering:
On Location Offering (San Antonio, TX):
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, with the Classical Musical Institute (CMI) Orchestra, at the Carlos Alvarez Theater, Tobin Center, San Antonio, Texas.
November 27th, 6:30-8:30 PM: Conversation on Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20. Where: Firehouse Lounge (next to the Tobin Center), 110 Auditorium Circle. Light refreshments will be available.
December 7th, 7:30-9 pm: evening concert at the Carlos Alvarez Theater (Pre-Concert Panel Discussion 6:45-7:30)
This event partnering SGBI and CMI is FREE to the public. Register for this event using the form below. Registrants in the Listeners’ Studio on 11/27 will also receive free tickets to the concert on 12/7.