By mid-April, it was clear that the June in-person Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival would not celebrate its 35th Anniversary. The Coronavirus had put a hold on all community gatherings. Knowing how much the audience looks forward to the Festival, Artistic Directors Marcy Rosen and Catherine Cho proposed a virtual festival, an undertaking that was new to them and to Chesapeake Music.
The Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival Committee, which had just completed all arrangements for the planned June Festival, shifted gears, joined with the artistic directors, and jumped into unknown territory to support plans for our first virtual productions. Much to the delight of Chesapeake Music, Virtual Virtuosi! exceeded our expectations. The five concerts were viewed on our web site and Facebook page by more than 5,000 households.
Working with the Violin Channel, the world’s leading classical music news source who advertised and live-streamed the five programs, the results are that over 120,000 viewed the Festival on the Violin Channel’s Facebook and Instagram sites.
The Festival Committee has received very positive comments from local viewers, from viewers in nearby states, from across the country, and from places as far away as Karachi, Pakistan. An additional benefit of our virtual festival is that our audience could watch the programs with family and friends across the country.
The artistic directors and musicians worked creatively with Skillman Music, a boutique New York City recording studio, to produce five programs. Virtual Virtuosi! more than lived up to its name. Two concerts filmed and recorded at Queens College just before New York City shut down due to the pandemic book-ended the Festival. Two other concerts from the homes of the Festival Artists with varied selections were well-received by the viewers. A Young People’s Concert featuring four musicians from Carnegie Hall’s postgraduate program, Ensemble Connect, reached out to families with children ages six to twelve with a live and interactive program that was a big success.
We hope to be back with our usual face to face live concerts next June, but if that turns out to be still a problem we feel that this year’s success leaves us well equipped to go virtual again. For further information and to view Festival concerts, visit chesapeakemusic.org.