The Salome Chamber Orchestra at Bargemusic is revolutionary not just because they performed on a boat, at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, overlooking the Manhattan skyline for a non-profit founded by one of the female icons of chamber music (beloved Olga Bloom), but because of this:
“New York City compels young adults to be at once adaptable, optimistic, multi-faceted and resourceful. At Salomé, we feel that the very survival and evolution of classical music within such a fast-paced, cosmopolitan environment requires a dynamic balance of novelty, tradition, and hard work.
It was with this vision in mind that the Salomé Chamber Orchestra, New York City’s electrifying new conductor-less string ensemble, was formed in September 2009. The Orchestra, founded by the Carpenter siblings (violinists Sean and Lauren and violist David), is dedicated to advancing the works of both underappreciated and well-recognized chamber composers alike, and to performing a broad range from Baroque to contemporary repertoire. Salomé’s intelligent, artistic and interdisciplinary approach to music-making produces refreshing and vibrant performances which attest to the wealth of talent that can be found in this great city and in our generation.”
What’s old is new again. The concept of the self-conducted orchestra evolved after the Russian Revolution. The Pervïy Simfonicheskiy Ansambl′ bez Dirizhyora (“First Conductorless Symphony Ensemble”) was developed not only as a way to make rehearsals and performances more efficient, but as a reflection of philosophical ideals of egalitarianism. Performers sat in a circle and took cues from said circle. No one was an exclusive leader or follower.
Now listen, again, to the piece (the movement Air from Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Op.40). This music and the design of how it was made - the structure of how it was made - is part of what you hear.