In the Moment: Matt Haimovitz Brings Mobile Music to Northern Virginia

In these days of the end of the brick-and-mortar retail shops, and in these times when new audiences are less likely to purchase subscriptions to the performing arts as Baby Boomers once did, what can be done to stop the bleeding of potential audiences to the “High Arts?”

Certainly to me, not having a traditional brick-and-mortar location available should not stop the performing arts from reaching out to audiences, especially those in the Greater DC Metro area, including its close-in suburbs.

So, with that said as a preface, I recently learned the good folk at the Alden didn’t whine or mope about when their cozy Alden Theatre became dark for about a year or more as it undergoes much needed renovation.

Nope: they came up with a solution, much like Bluto in Animal House. The called it “mobile music.” That is what this particular column is about: trying to bring ”High Art” music to the community where folk live and shop.

Why not see if new audiences might find an unstuffy way to take in the classic repertoire of the performing arts? Maybe not in a huge summer-time amphitheater, but in smaller pop-up like venues.

Here is what the Alden Theatre folk are planning, under the leadership of George Sachs, Executive Director, and Sarah N. Schallern, Director, Performing Arts. They are opening a new season presenting the innovative cellist Matt Haimovitz in a multi-part performance called “A Movable Feast.”

Matt Haimovitz. Photograph by Stephanie McKinnon.

The unique feature, especially for Northern Virginia folk; the Israeli-born Haimovitz will be performing at various non-traditional locations around McLean. If you are less familiar with Haimovitz, he performed in the DC area last year.

When Haimovitz was invited to perform “A Moveable Feast,” he was receptive to the idea of performing in various locations, some of which are not traditional stages. He wanted to inspire audiences right where they are or might be. According to Schallern, “He’s a great, accessible artist playing a great repertoire, but also this was perfect timing with our being without a venue during the McLean Community Center’s Ingleside venue undergoing renovation and expansion.”

“The vagabond nature of ‘A Movable Feast’ allows us to explore different venues and introduce new audiences to Haimovitz and music.” added Schallern. “We love the idea of people just stumbling upon great music that they may not normally listen to. And, we want a great way to give back to our community.”

Haimovitz is expected to perform combinations of Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello as well as newly commissioned suites by contemporary composers such as Philip Glass, Du Yun, Vijay Iyer and others. The new works were commissioned by Haimovitz and composed especially for him.

On Saturday, October 14, the performances are “small tastes” that are free and open to the public at locations throughout McLean:

  • 10:15 a.m.: McLean Project for the Arts MPA@ChainBridge gallery, 1446 Chain Bridge Rd, McLean, VA.
  • 11:45 a.m.: Dolley Madison Library, 1244 Oak Ridge Ave, McLean, VA.
  • 2 p.m.: Spring Hill Rec Center, 1239 Spring Hill Rd, McLean, VA.

Then on Sunday, October 15, there will be a ticketed full concert at the Old Firehouse Center, 1440 Chain Bridge Road, McLean. The event will include Bach’s moving and spiritual Suites for Unaccompanied Cello in a program offering a musical variation on the concept of “A Movable Feast.” Haimovitz will pair Bach’s Suites with newly commissioned suites.

So, be on the lookout for cellist Matt Haimovitz as he moves about McLean, bringing the classics to the people. In these days of total upset of traditional ways to perform, let’s relish something new.

Matt Haimovitz performing A Moveable Feast performed on October 14 and 15 at various McLean, VA, locations under the auspices of the Alden Theatre/McLan Community Center. For more details and ticket information call 703-790-0123 or purchase them online.




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