SF Classical Voice | Small is Beautiful
SFCV's Jeff Kaliss writes about the magic of intimate, personal concerts at home amongst friends old and new:
"...Mimi Lee, pianist with the BELLA Piano Trio, talks of similar “nerve-wracking” challenges, which she contrasts with “playing in a larger venue like a concert hall, when the lights are dimmed and you don’t see any particular faces.”
Lee estimates that 30 to 40 percent of her performances with the BELLA Trio occur as house concerts, several of them at a patron’s home at San Francisco’s highest residential elevation, atop Twin Peaks, where they’ll be this Saturday, Feb. 23. “There’s something very intimate and personal in how we can connect with the audience,” says Lee about these events. “People watch the dynamic between us, hear the sounds we’re making, and become part of that musical conversation. There’s stuff that happens, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes despite the best planning — we adjust and respond to that, and I think the audience is sensitive to when that kind of thing is happening. It makes house concerts really exciting.”
“We try to bring in our personalities, style, and sound, and explain that about that music speaks to us,” adds Lee. “In the Piazzolla Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, where you can feel you’re in Argentina on a summer’s day, we’re trying to stretch certain notes out to give it that elasticity. If we can demonstrate that, it kind of demystifies things.”
With her M.D.-Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a bunch of avocations, Lee also cherishes the opportunity to converse with her diverse audiences, “where all my worlds collide into each other, making everything feel more human. Sharing common interests in music or neuroscience or medicine or yoga, it’s inspiring, and I guess it makes me feel not so alone.”..."