Concert Hub, a new student organization, makes classical music accessible

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Have you ever gone to a concert in sweatpants? If not, here’s your chance.

Concert Hub, a new student-led performance series, will host its inaugural concert in The Garage on Thursday. The event will feature classical and jazz musicians from the Northwest and Chicago performing a setlist that crosses genres.

Concert Hub founder and Bienen senior Natasha von Bartheld said she had wondered for years why there were so few young people at classical music performances. She said one reason is that classical music settings can seem too formal and esoteric.

“Our mission is to make classical and jazz music more accessible to non-concert goers,” Bartheld said.

Concert Hub seeks to create a welcoming environment for listeners of all levels of musical knowledge.

There is no dress code, no secret social expectations, and no public sense of inadequacy. Bartheld said you could even get up and dance.

In Thursday’s concert, Bienen’s second year, Emma Truong, will play the piano. She said she had been considering something like Concert Hub for a long time.

“I’ve always wanted to have this kind of retreat for musicians and also for audiences to listen to music without any judgment, and without any underlying fear or expectation,” Truong said.

McCormick’s sophomore Alicia Hartono will sing alongside Truong in French, German, Vietnamese and Indonesian. She said she’s brought friends to other classic shows, but the stuffy atmosphere can alienate inexperienced viewers. Hartono said Concert Hub will be a more accessible way for students to approach classical music.

Ben Zucker, a fifth-year music composition and technology graduate student, will perform on vibraphone Thursday with local jazz musicians.

As with classical music, Zucker said jazz performances in college settings often operate with constraining expectations. For Concert Hub, Zucker said he wanted to honor the dynamic nature of jazz.

“There’s absolutely a way to get people to play this music,” Zucker said. “Across all genres, it’s an element of musical creation.”

For Thursday’s event, organizers Concert Hub will adapt The Cafe into a cozy concert hall, Bartheld said. Concert Hub will host an afterparty with refreshments, Bartheld said, and the organization’s goal is to dissolve barriers between performers and audience members. She said connection is the group’s main priority.

“It’s about community,” Bartheld said. “We can really go beyond traditional gigs.”

E-mail: cla[email protected]

Twitter: @claireosh

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