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Nonclassical at Macbeth (Photo: The Times of London)On Sunday, the 4th of May (2008), the Chiara String Quartet performed Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms in Wooster’s Gault Recital Hall as part of the Wooster Chamber Music Series. Chiara also played the previous Saturday evening — but not in Gault. Their 3 May concert was at Cleveland’s jazz club, Nighttown.

As far as I know, cellist Matt Haimovitz was one of the first fairly recognizable names in classical music to perform in these nontraditional venues, where the concert hall’s hushed, attentive audience is definitely not an expectation.

Classical without the quiet is the norm for a series at an East London club, Macbeth. The very name of the series, Nonclassical, thumbs its nose at most music lovers’ expectations. Yet the promoter behind this venture comes to it with a musical pedigree — he is the grandson of composer Sergei Prokofiev.

Nonclassical is just one of many efforts to round up younger, trendier audiences for classical music. As The Times of London reports, there have been and are other similar efforts (with varying degrees of success) in the UK.

Nor is the UK alone. In a piece published Sunday (15 June 2008), The New York Times lists Barbès in Brooklyn, Spiegeltent at the South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Lyceum, Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village, Joe’s Pub in the East Village, and about a half a dozen others.

The New York Times reports that their city, too, has a brand-new entry in the club-with-classical club: Le Poisson Rouge, on Bleecker Street. Its proprietors are classical musicians, though not with quite the family ties of Nonclassical’s. Their first classical performer will be the trendy Bach Goldberg Variations interpreter, Simone Dinnerstein; in addition to a helping of the Goldbergs, she’ll serve up some George Crumb.

Read more:

Nonclassical, in The Times of London

Le Poisson Rouge, in The New York Times (Registration may be required)

Also in WKSU Classical: Taking It to the Streets

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