Music for Strings & Community

Music for Strings and Community is a Fall 2020 project designed to bring together musicians and neighbors from various communities in Washington Heights. From socially distanced sidewalk workshops at Word Up Community Bookshop, to virtual creative sessions with students from the Washington Heights and Inwood Music Project, to phone calls through the Washington Heights and Inwood Y at Home program, we are reinventing what it means to make music together during a pandemic. Please check out our Kickstarter to follow the project and support our work! 

 

The project is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Learning, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
in partnership with the City Council and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

The Together Chaconne Project

I first launched the Together Chaconne project with Chan Weng Loi Rain (audio editing) and Yoanita Kartadihardja (video editing) in May 2020. We had met at the Youth Music Culture Guangdong 2020 festival in China in January, and I had participated in their Air on the G String #songsofcomfort video, featuring Yo Yo Ma and YMCG alumni and faculty. I was fascinated by the question of how musicians worldwide could find a way to improvise together in solidarity during the pandemic, despite being stuck at home. Inspired by improvisation classes at YMCG, the Together Chaconne is made from the improvisations of 26 musicians bringing their own sounds and styles to a single set of Bach’s chords. The bassline from J.S. Bach's 'Chaconne' from the Partita No. 2 for solo violin forms a foundation for the harmonies and melodies, as it is repeated by different musicians throughout the piece. 

 

As I worked to arrange the piece, it took on a bigger meaning to me. It is a tangible demonstration of what we can do as a musical community when we come together despite distance, difficulty, and differences. I hope our music uplifts and encourages you amid all the difficult things facing us in the world right now. The YMCG Together Chaconne is the first in a series - watch this space to follow the #TogetherChaconne project, and share it with your friends!

-Evelyn

Follow @epetcherbrandes on Instagram for more projects like this.  

© 2020 by Evelyn Petcher Brandes. 

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