Come Over, Beethoven: Classical Music Concerts In Your Living Room

An online group is blending culture with technology – and the result is music to our ears.

Groupmuse — launched a year ago by classical music lover Sam Bodkin — is halfway between a chamber music concert and a house party. The social media site matches up people who want to volunteer their home for a semi-public classical music performance with musicians and guests.

The host gets a world-class classical musician and the right to invite a majority of guests. The other spots are slotted for Groupmuse members. Best thing, everyone hears amazing music and the events are free.

We lucked out and were able to snag a few seats to the second-ever Groupmuse event in New York City.

We logged onto the Groupmuse site, registered for what we only knew was a New York gathering, and waited while we were vetted. An e-mail came through only hours before the music was to start. The message disclosed just the address.

With a couple of friends in tow, we journeyed to Bushwick, a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn where gentrification is looming on the periphery.

What we found at the address were another 30 curious New Yorkers packed into a well-appointed apartment enjoying an assortment of wine and cheese and mingling before the music played.

Among the guests was Sam, the Groupmuse founder, who traveled from Boston to attend that night’s performance by Sebastian Bäverstam, an old friend and an award-winning cellist who won the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition.

During  his hour-long performance, Sebastian played an 1812 Fiori cello with a double bass bow. The cello was a gift from Sebastian’s grandfather – and the sound Sebastian produced from the large instrument was potent and expressive. Not bad for someone who burned his hand that morning while cooking eggs.

After the performance, the happy host honored the days of old, passing ’round “the hat” so the guests could show their appreciation. We gladly made a contribution.

My friends and I soon said our good-byes and ventured to the nearest L train past taquerias and 99 cent discount shops — but what we experienced wasn’t going anywhere.

Lucky for us, Groupmuse is already off to a dulcet start. On the night of our performance there were simultaneous events hosted in living rooms across the U.S.

Before we left, Sam said he wants classical music “as far away from the concert hall as you can get.” Sounds pretty mellifluous to us.

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