Today, the classical music world is abuzz with a review of a Portland chamber music concert that concludes with a criticism of classical music concerts generally. "Concert after concert, season after season, writes Tristan Bliss, "and it's the same old shit [...] It's time to act. It's time to set a new precedent for concerts."
That's exactly what the six staff members who run Groupmuse have been doing for two years: creating a new model for classical music performances. Groupmuse facilitates the organization of classical-music house parties where admission is free and musicians are paid by audience donations.
Now active in New York, San Francisco, and Boston, Groupmuse says it's helped organize over a thousand house shows — but an e-mail to supporters says that "Groupmuse will die" if the service can't hit a Kickstarter goal of $100,000.
"Our traction is very strong and the response to Groupmuse has been overwhelming," says the Kickstarter pitch, "but if we take cash from a typical startup investor, there will be a lot of pressure to grow revenue at all costs, and that pressure was going to be coming from places outside of our community from people who don't actually go to groupmuses and don't fully appreciate how miraculous what we've created really is."
If the Kickstarter is a success, Groupmuse plans to expand to Seattle — and I think I can point them to an Oregon resident who might be interested in making a little road trip to see a show.