Nothing Like Your Average Chamber Concert Feb 19, 2014

by Hanna Benn

For those who haven't had the chance to attend a Seattle Chamber Players concert, you don't know that the experience is nothing like your average chamber concert. In fact, it may feel more reminiscent of a rock & roll show, or even a 3D movie. It's very rare, in my experience as an audience member, to be completely captivated throughout an entire concert, but this event was a game changer. This ensemble truly succeeds in curating exceptionally innovative, daring and engaging programs that can challenge ones expectations.

In their seventh installment of Icebreaker, an annual festival that showcases new works by international artists, the Seattle Chamber Players initiated a conversation that infused music with technology. Each composer's unique combination of electronics, live music, and video were thoughtfully presented to engage and enhance the senses.

The highlight of the evening was Michel van der Aa's stunning multi-media cello concerto, Up-Close, featuring award-winning cellist Julie Albers. Alongside the ensemble was projected a film which proved to be a mirror reality to the live performance. The soloist and ensemble interacted with the film intermittently, as the audience's undivided attention was directed from one subject to another. Through contemplating this balance of parallel perspectives, and an ever-changing focus point, we were brought to understand how different aesthetic realizations fuse into one reality. This unity of the senses through various perspectives was an overarching theme of the evening, and the profound conceptual statement of Icebreaker VII.

All in all, I was overwhelmingly satisfied.

Hanna Benn is a vocalist, composer, and musician based in Seattle.