An enormous THANK YOU to everyone who made it to our first official concert as Portmantô. It was a moving experience for me, not only because I was exhausted with all the planning, but because Portmantô is something that we have been working to make real for more than a year--and a concept we have been developing for even longer.
On the music! I was once reminded, during my training, that getting the right combination of musicians in the same room to play together is an art unto itself. I am excited that Portmantô has had such a great ensemble from the very beginning. Each member was very close to the artistic process of planning and executing this concert. Over the last two weeks, these six dedicated performers packed into my own living room for hours on end to rehearse. Thanks to more than a few pots of coffee, a secret number of pastry items, and an overwhelming sense of professionalism, it was a true delight to present this concert. I have also unwittingly become a specialist in moving harps up steep, dangerous flights of stairs.
I was pleased with how much the environment of Galerie Maison Kasini contributed to the event. Even though it was our first concert, it was easy to feel at home. Much of the series was developed in close consultation with Maison Kasini. They are serious incubators of emerging artists; if their collection and group of artists aren't enough for you to believe me, then this concert series, LIVING ROOM, is proof positive. Yesterday's concert was exactly what we were hoping for while developing the LIVING ROOM series: an environment where chamber music can be appreciated in a relaxed, friendly, and sociable setting. For me, as director and one of the performers, it was a relief to play in a chamber music concert that really felt like a chamber music concert.
Some special thanks are in order:
- to Brian Harman, who put aside a lot of time this summer to write us an amazing piece. How great it was to start our inaugural series with a world première!
- to the team at Maison Kasini, who made sure everything went as smoothly as possible (and for bearing with us musicians);
- to St. James Cathedral, a block up from the gallery, for loaning us more than 30 chairs;
- to Robin and Mira for bringing their living room floor lamps to solve a last minute lighting issue;
- to composers Brian Harman and Zosha Di Castri, who traveled from Toronto and New York City to talk about their music and support the group and series;
- to all of the performers for their exceptional talent and graciousness;
- to Isak Goldschneider for doing a wonderful job as emcee;
- to my old clarinet teachers Abe Kestenberg and Simon Aldrich, who never stopped encouraging me;
- to my parents, Charles and Dora, who made the trek up from New York to see and hear us play. A day doesn't go by where I am not thankful for your continual support, all the way back to when you were dealing with my squeaks and driving me to evening rehearsals with the community orchestra;
- to every person in attendance. I was honored to have you as our first audience!
- to Loki and Amou, for not eating my reeds during rehearsals.
I'd invite you to email us with feedback and comments. We pay a lot of attention to how the experience comes across, so please do not hesitate to contact us (and to be creative with your feedback!). I am already looking forward to our next program, Solitude & Monogamy, on December 9th & 11th.
Thanks to everybody again. As always, we are available for house concerts!
All the best,
Mark A. Bradley
Executive Director, Portmantô
Portmantô presents Concerto Primo again on Thursday, September 23rd 2010 at Galerie Maison Kasini. Check out the website for more information on programs and tickets.