HomeCommunityMonterey Symphony, Youth Music Monterey and more hosting virtual concerts

Monterey Symphony, Youth Music Monterey and more hosting virtual concerts


From the Monterey Symphony to Youth Music Monterey, local musicians are utilizing technology to keep performing, for the long term and the short term. 

The Monterey Symphony is hosting a series of short recitals called Balcony Sessions in their downtown office. In each session, one or two people from the same household perform for 30 minutes, and live-streaming has allowed the symphony to keep providing live music to the community.

According to Virginia Marine, the director of external relations for the Monterey Symphony, the concerts are all live-streamed for anyone to watch.

“We have a small film crew that films [the musicians] and puts it out as a live stream,” Marine says. “As they’re playing, you can tune in online, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo and watch the musicians and hear the musicians play live.”

The concerts can also be streamed afterwards on Roku, Amazon Prime or Instagram TV. 

Pat Fitzsimmons from IATSE Local 611 shoots the Balcony Sessions. (courtesy of Randy Tunnell)

The Balcony Sessions may not make money, but they support their musicians, paying them to participate in the Balcony Sessions or sending videos of performances they have been working on. 

Chamber Music Monterey is streaming their entire 2020-2021 season online, charging $30-44 for each ticket. According to Alcide Guillory, the director of operations, the reason behind this was to maintain contracts with the artists and support them by paying them the same fee.

“Keeping with our mission of promoting chamber music, we also wanted to help take care of our artists that us and audiences have come to love,” Guillory says. “We went the route of streaming it to make sure that we can keep these chamber groups around.”

However, the attendance has been lower than expected. While Chamber Music Monterey usually has an attendance of 300-400 people, only 55-75 people so far have attended each of their online concerts. 

Chamber Music Monterey has also tentatively scheduled an in-person concert, a solo piano performance, for the 2021-22 season. 

“Everything is still tentative, but right now the plan is if it’s possible to do the next season in-person, which will start in October 2021, then we’re hoping that we’ll be able to do that,” Guillory adds.

Youth Music Monterey is taking on the challenge of presenting a full concert, scheduled for sometime in December, using an entire orchestra, but the only way to do this right now is to record it beforehand.

“Our virtual concert is in the editing room as I write this,” executive director Suzanne Mudge says. “Each orchestra student recorded his or her music as a video. After each recording is checked and edited for accuracy, they are sent to a recording engineer who knows how to read a score and has a great set of ears. He or she assembles all the tracks and creates the video concert that we’ll stream.”

Will Baker, Monterey Symphony’s principal bass trombone, performs the August Balcony Session. (courtesy of Randy Tunnell)

The concert will be streamed from the Youth Music Monterey website for free. Mudge says there will be a chat for viewers to interact during the concert as well as a donation button. After the concert is over, there will also be a “reception” for people to discuss the concert or just to greet each other.

According to Mudge, Youth Music Monterey has had activities remotely for a while.

“Over the summer, we made the decision to forge ahead and create a season of virtual online rehearsals, concerts, as well as creating a new series called Fresh Perspectives,” Mudge says. “The one positive aspect of this has been our ability to connect our students with esteemed musicians online, from anywhere in the world, to hold masterclasses and interviews.” 

For all three musical groups, technology has been essential to delivering music to audiences and sustaining musicians during these times. 


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