10. March 2014 · Comments Off on Shuffle Concert · Categories: Read Online

THE people around me were ordering music the way I order a burger. “I’ll take the Prokofiev,” No. 12 declared. “Let’s have the Bach,” No. 2 said.

At the Shuffle Concert, where crowdsourcing crashes into classical, every guest gets a number. If yours is called, you pick the next piece.

The pieces are numbered, too: In theory, Guest No. 4 could order Piece No. 6. But to prevent the whole thing from tumbling into anarchy, the audience knows to skip the menu numbers and order by composer name. For full effect, you should mutter it casually, as if you and Stravinsky go way back. If there’s a faintly European gargling noise involved (see, for example, Bach), gargle it.

Classical music can rouse the aspiring sophisticate in some people. But on a recent rainy evening in a Brooklyn district that real estate brokers might call “on the cusp of the cusp,” in the dingy borderlands between East Williamsburg and Bushwick, an experiment was in progress. An ensemble of six young but highly accomplished classical musicians was magnificently slumming it for one night, knocking the genre from its pedestal with a game of musical “Choose Your Own Adventure.”


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