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Arts & Culture

Tuesday Musical Launches 'Decompression Chamber' to Help Akron Residents Unwind

photo of Escher String Quartet
The New York City-based Escher String Quartet is Tuesday Musical's first official Quartet in Residence.

The city of Akron and Tuesday Musical want to help the city relax using classical music. WKSU’s Phil de Oliveira reports on a new initiative to bring live chamber music to Akron’s public spaces.

The free, 45-minute concerts are part of a series called Decompression Chamber. The idea for the concerts came out of research suggesting classical music decreases stress and enhances brain function.

They're funded  mostly with a $40,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant. Tuesday Musical was one of 19 Akron arts organizations to win grants last year.

Tuesday Musical Executive Director Jarrod Hartzler says they’re considering venues like hospitals, prisons, and even grocery stores.

“One of the interesting spots we thought about would be the lobby of a grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving, when everyone’s in their mad frenzy to get their groceries," Hartzler says. "What would hearing a classical guitarist or a string quartet do to that crazy mob of people rushing about?”

The concerts will mostly feature musicians from the Akron area. Hartzler says chamber groups from the Tuesday Musical's Main Stage series comprise only six concerts per year, and asking them to perform the roughly 15 planned Decompression Chamber concerts would be a stretch.

The New York-based Escher String Quartet will open the series next week with music by Claude Debussy and Felix Mendelssohn. The concert will be held in the lobby of the Akron Municipal Building on Wednesday, April 26.