What is Chamber Music?
Chamber music is the umbrella term given to music written for and performed by small groups of musicians. Originally, this kind of music was written by composers to be performed in small spaces, such as homes and private parties or concerts. Sometimes the instrumentation is a little odd or unexpected because it was written for the instruments their friends or family could play! Chamber music includes piano trios, string quartets, clarinet quintets and many more different combinations of instruments up to around 10 players maximum.
Who is Ensemble 360?
In Sheffield we don’t have a resident orchestra like a lot of UK cities, but we do have Ensemble 360. These 11 incredible musicians perform all over the world in orchestras, on film scores, in their own groups, teach, compose and more but throughout the year they join together to form the region’s only professional classical group, Ensemble 360. As our resident musicians they perform during our Autumn and Spring Seasons as well as a 9 day feast in May when we hold our annual Chamber Music Festival.
What does ‘in-the-round’ mean?
We are very lucky to have the Crucible Studio Theatre as our home venue in Sheffield. This is where our name derives from because the audience sit on every side of the stage, encircling the musicians. We feel this creates a particularly special atmosphere that you rarely find elsewhere. Even musicians have said it’s like performing in someone’s living room and that the audience are in the concert together with them. However, when we are not in that venue, ‘in-the-round’ can mean other things. The programming is often all linked, coming full circle and the musicians endeavour to connect with their audience and mimic that informal, intimate setting wherever they play. This is who we are.
Can I bring my children to concerts?
We believe that classical music should be for everyone and that includes young children and families. We hold regular family events which usually last between 45 minutes to 1 hour long, and are specially tailored to holding the attention of younger listeners. Our core concerts are a little longer than family events, they usually last between 2 – 2.5 hours with a short interval and are held in the intimate Crucible Studio Theatre. Generally speaking we recommend these concerts for children age 7+. However, you know your child better than we do and if you feel comfortable that they will enjoy sitting quietly through these concerts then we have no problem having younger children in our audiences. If it so happens that your child is distracted or feeling unsettled, we have allocated Family Seating which is positioned close to the stage door for you to make a swift exit in between movements or at the end of a piece during applause.
Will I know any of the music?
You might. You might not. Even here at Music in the Round we unearth new music with every season and we find that this is all part of the journey. We know that seeing a composer’s name and some numbers on a programme doesn’t tell you very much, so we make sure to summarise the overall feel of the music in our brochures. One step further would be take a listen to our Season or Festival Playlist on Spotify where you can decide in advance if you like the music or not. Who knows what you might discover?
What do I have to wear to a concert?
There’s nothing worse than thinking you have to look a certain way to be somewhere or being uncomfortable sat in one place for an evening because of an awkward outfit. Our concerts are informal; musicians and audience members alike dress casually. Having said that, getting dressed up to go to a concert can make for a really special evening, so if you’d like to get your best frock or suit out for the occasion then please do. It’s entirely up to you!
Are there any “unwritten rules” or etiquette I need to know about?
If you’re worried about clapping in the wrong place, we understand your fears. The most common way (at this moment in time) to respond to a performance is to applaud after the piece has finished and to remain quiet in between movements. However, if you want to respond to the music with applause in between movements because you were stirred to do so then so what? We encourage you to respond how you feel you should. In the Crucible Studio, when an audience has really enjoyed a performance they often stamp their feet and make even more noise, which is pretty good fun. Oh and back in Beethoven’s day, applause post-movement would actually have been encouraged and expected. Funny how things change, isn’t it?
Can I use my phone for social media or for photos?
We would absolutely love for you to tweet, share and check in with us online (we’re pretty chatty on social) but we simply ask you to do so pre and post concert. Our venue is very intimate and using your phone whilst the music is happening would distract not only the performers, but the audience surrounding you too. We hope you understand, see you on the internet! @musicintheround
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Music in the Round is an Arts Award supporter. Find out more here.