Playing the Classics

Surprising venues host classical music series.

By Joe Sugarman - May 2015

Playing the Classics

Surprising venues host classical music series.

By Joe Sugarman - May 2015

Peabody grad Rafaela Dreisin, left, and Stephanie Ray listening to cellists Tobias Morris and Peter Kibbe. -Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

It's another Saturday night at Joe Squared: The beer is flowing, the pizzas are square, and Yoshi Horiguchi is in the middle of the crowd, tearing up a version of Bach's "Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor" on his double bass. Not exactly what you'd expect, but there's an insurgency of sorts going on here. Credit Classical Revolution Baltimore.

The organization started in San Francisco nearly a decade ago, as a way for classical musicians to get their acts out of stuffy concert halls and into more populist venues—bars, coffee shops, art galleries. Peabody grad Rafaela Dreisin introduced the revolution, which is now active in over 30 cities worldwide, to Baltimore in 2010. Since then, she and cohort Stephanie Ray have organized more than 75 free concerts in locations from Mt. Vernon Park to Liam Flynn's Ale House. The group holds a monthly residency at Joe Squared cheekily dubbed "Drunk Bach."

For Dreisin, a trumpet player who works for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids program, it's all about exposing open minds to her beloved craft. "I grew up being taken to classical music concerts by my parents, but none of my friends were ever interested," she says. "I always thought they would really like it if it was presented to them in a different way."

The musicians themselves—a rotating mix of recent grads from area music programs—appreciate the nontraditional venues as much as the audience does. "It's definitely different than playing in a quiet concert hall," says Horiguchi, who serves as principal bassist with the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra. "Performing in front of a reactive audience is like eating a different cuisine, but I like the variety. Sometimes you want Chinese, sometimes you want pizza."

And sometimes you want a little Bach with your pizza.




You May Also Like

Arts & Culture

Music Reviews: August 2017

The latest from Celebration and Bumper Jacksons.

Arts District

The Big Baltimore Playlist: August 2017

The top five local songs you should download right now.

MaxSpace

Review: Home Again

This is not the Reese Witherspoon rom-com you're looking for.


Arts District

Everyman Actor Meets Real Life Inspiration Behind M. Butterfly Character

Bruce Nelson talks about his chance encounter with protagonist muse.

Arts District

Culture Club: C. Grimaldis, J Roddy Walston and the Business, Mt. Vernon Literary Walking Tour

Our monthly roundup of openings, events, and news from the art world.

MaxSpace

Review: A Ghost Story

You'll never look at your childhood ghost costume the same way.

Peabody grad Rafaela Dreisin, left, and Stephanie Ray listening to cellists Tobias Morris and Peter Kibbe.
-Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Connect With Us

Most Read


Switching Gears
A Greenmount collective offers kids their own mobility.

Cameo: Heidi Daniel
We talk to the new CEO and president of Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Watch This Tape
A Remington shop brings video back from the dead.

Fashion Sense
How designer and BSA alum Christian Siriano made a name for himself in the fashion world.

Let the Good Times Roll
A disappearing pastime, duckpin bowling is spared in its hometown of Baltimore.