The Lie Down Bach Concert: How Was It For You?

I’m just back from an enchanting late-evening experience. Lying in semi-darkness on my favorite comforter on the floor of Greencastle’s Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, I and about 45 or 50 college students (a number in pajamas) were enveloped by Katya Kramer-Lapin‘s beautiful, varied, wide-ranging playing of the Bach Goldberg Variations.  An arts-presenter friend estimated the total attendance at 65-80, including those (mostly of post-college age) sitting in pews.

45+ students at 9:00 PM on a Sunday night, with no “recital attendance” credit.  They came just for the experience. Many were lying down, eyes closed, throughout the event.  Some multi-tasked, working on laptops or smart phones. The ones I spoke with loved it. “We should do something like this once a month,” one told me.

I could go on and on, and perhaps will tomorrow.  Meanwhile, the purpose of this post is so those who attended can add comments sharing their experience, and ideas for future engaging, inviting, and unconventional performances.  If you were there, add a comment.  If you weren’t, ask a question.


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12 responses to “The Lie Down Bach Concert: How Was It For You?

  1. Debbie

    What a great concept. That is how I like to listen to good music, usually in the privacy of my own home, but I can see how the communal atmosphere could add something to the experience. And this would be a perfect stress-reliever for over extended students during mid terms and finals.

  2. Dear Friends! Thank you SO MUCH for the beautiful, wonderful evening!! It really was a unique experience! Thank you for being there!! What an inspiration it was to me to see you all there, being a part of it!!

  3. In regard to Katya’s playing: glorious, serene, and euphoric. She was able to bring out Romantic qualities in the music; reviving it, and creating an atmosphere of other-worldliness.

    In regard to the concert setting: I couldn’t have asked for a better way to enjoy this gorgeous music (ok, maybe a coffee would’ve made it better). It was great to be at a concert where everyone wanted to be there. The atmosphere was unique in that everyone contributed to the energy; an energy Katya fed from, no doubt.

  4. dacton

    Katya is a fantastic pianist! I was absolutely taken in by her playing, and it was truly difficult to “multi-task” as you said, because her playing was so engaging. The first pianist I’ve ever seen in pajamas!

    Absolutely one of the most fabulous concert experiences I’ve ever had. I wasn’t the one who asked for this to happen once a month, but I am certainly all for that idea!!

  5. This event was the perfect setting to listen to Katya play the Goldberg variations. The beauty of the music was complemented by the church and the silence in the audience. This kind of event is something so special, and should happen more often! To fully experience the music and the atmosphere, with no inhibitors was amazing! No one was worried about sitting in an uncomfortable chair, or thinking about their upcoming assignments. Everyone was engaged, in one way or another. This was an experience that I would recommend to any music-lover.

    As for ideas for future concerts, I think Dr. Edberg’s focus on both improvisation and experiential music are something to think about. What if we had a concert that was more of a music-sharing session? People could get together and listen to each others’ music and express what they love about it (or what they didn’t understand/like). Or perhaps something that involves movement as well?

  6. Andre Williams :)

    I absolutely loved this concert. It was nice to sit in a more intimate space where the performer was, quite literally, right there playing. And the laying and sitting on the floor just relaxing and listening in silence really created a meditative area that you can never really get a normal concert. Normally you’re to sit up, and most times i feel as if you have to listen intently, and God forbid you start to get into a meditative mode and close your eyes or fall asleep… and that is perfectly fine, but then you can’t really enjoy every single aspect of the music. With this concert you could take everything in from the music and relax as the music was being played for you. Not to mention we as college students always talk about how we never get enough sleep, and just in that concert i feel like i quite literally got a full nights works of rest. it was amazing. I’m so glad i was able to go and enjoy this concert. i hope we do it more often on campus because it was an amazing experience

  7. Mikey

    As one of the “multi-taskers” in the crowd, I can agree that it was really hard to pay attention to my homework with Katya playing so beautifully in such an aesthetically supportive environment. Right from the onset of the piece, I found myself being put into the shoes (or pajamas rather) of Goldberg’s supposed patron, calmly being lulled to sleep. Looking at the Gothic-esque ceiling and listening to Katya’s performance of Bach, it just felt right. I was quite glad when Katya brought out the Romantic elements in her playing though, because it stirred me from any slumberous thoughts and allowed me to continue analyzing Mozart (which is actually really cool, because I was taking apart Mozart who had in turn taken apart Bach, who I was listening to). There was just so much that was “just right” about this performance that it was almost surreal, like a sense of perfection that could only exist in a dream. I continually had to sit up and move around to reassure myself that I was not actually dreaming.

    What made this performance magical for me was not that it was candle-lit, or that it was in a church, or that it was a great de-stressor from studying; it was the fact that the music made it feel like all these things were supposed to be that way. In fact, I really felt like I was supposed to be in pajamas, like it was the one thing that didn’t belong. I might just be speaking for myself, but if we were to do something like this again, I would want that complementarity to be the common denominator between the two performances. Basically, I think it’d be really cool to have another performance in an environment that exudes the qualities of the piece. Maybe some Chopin nocturnes in the same setting? Or Vivaldi’s Autumn in the Theta gardens? Some Schubert in a parlor-type setting? Alternatively, I personally think it might to be really cool to do Die Winterreise outdoors on some cold winter evening, but that might not be appealing to anyone else… 🙂

  8. Mariela Lemus

    I had theory homework to do, so I was one of the multi-taskers. Usually I listen to music when I do homework, so it was really nice to listen to Katya play. There were times when I’d stop working, close my eyes and just let the music reverberating throughout the room engulf my senses. It’s wonderful that so many students came without the incentive of “recital attendance” credit. I think another performance/musical experience like this one would be more than welcome on our campus!

  9. Ben Ramos

    I loved this event. In a way I had the same experience as Mikey. I found myself staring at the fulcrum/ focal point of the ceiling and contemplating my life. It was actually slightly depressing. I was wondering what I want to do with my life as a pianist. I’ve been lost for a while with my life as a pianist since I am heavily drawn to theatre as my passion as well. Idk what to do with my life.

  10. alexdiaz969

    This was simply wonderful!! I like that DePauw is recognizing that audiences are evolving and so should the concert setting. We’ve had improv concerts, an amazing University Chorus concert, and now this performance all with in the last week. One key thread is that the music never suffered. I know some people who are afraid that if we “loosen up” our rigid view on what a classical concert is we will disrespect the music. Katya’s concert is a great example of how we can enjoy a world-class pianist playing one hell of an interpretation of Bach IN the 21st century. 🙂

  11. Alicia Ann Petrone

    I absolutely loved this event. To be honest, I wasn’t planning on going because of the amount of homework I still had, but a friend invited me and I thought, ‘You know, I could really use this!’ So I went and it was the best decision I could have made. Being able to enjoy music with my friends like I enjoy it by myself was wonderful! I mean, sure we all listen to music alone while relaxing and laying down (when we can find the time) but being able to do that in a concert setting was infinitely better. Katya’s playing was gorgeous and the perfect way to unwind and just let go of all the stress I was feeling. I would also LOVE to have this take place at least once a month… I mean, I would even vote for once a week. So I want to say thank you to Dr. Edberg and Katya for putting this on, it was greatly appreciated and I hope there are more to come!

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