The School of Music’s string faculty prepares for upcoming virtual concert

When gathering in person is not safe, virtual streaming options offer live performers an audience. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Avery Owens | Staff Writer

Virtual streaming options allow for live performances to continue despite pandemic barriers. On Feb. 20 at 6 p.m., members of the Baylor School of Music’s string faculty will perform a collection of songs in a concert titled, “Apéritif: Little-Known Gems from the String Quartet Repertoire.”

Performers include Philip Borter, Eka Gogichashvili, Patricia Shih and Kathryn Steely. The concert will be conducted virtually.

“Live music is much needed at this time,” Gogichashvili said. “Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 situation, live music has been gone completely. People are deprived of hearing wonderful music. I think it’s our duty as musicians to give the audience something, some joy, at their convenience. It is very professionally rewarding to us. This is our service to communities.”

The performers have been practicing the music on their own and will begin to rehearse together this week. When they gather together for the performance in Roxy Grove Hall, they will perform a collection of songs curated by Steely.

“We decided that it would be fun to do a program that featured a number of individual movements from composers that maybe people haven’t heard of or have not heard so much from,” Steely said. “Within that idea, I tried to pick a varied program showing some different styles and some different composers.”

The four will perform works by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Fanny Mendelssohn, Grażyna Bacewicz and George Gershwin. This selection of works represents diversity within the music world.

“Two of the composers that Kathy chose are of mixed race and two of them are women composers as well. And I think one of them is one of the first published women, Fanny Mendelssohn,” Shih said.

The performers themselves also represent diversity in experience. Gogichashvili and Steely have each been with Baylor for over 20 years. In contrast, Shih has been with Baylor since August 2019 and Borter joined the university this past fall.

“It’s very special for me to have the opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues because even when I’m in the building, I don’t have many opportunities to interact with them on a daily basis,” Borter said. “For me, to be able to perform music for an audience, even if it’s virtually, provides a lot of meaning for the work that we do, day in and day out.”

The performance will be streamed on the school of music’s website. Even though there will not be an in-person audience, the string faculty is choosing to make the most of the experience.

“There certainly is a lost energy not having a live audience in the hall,” Borter said. “We try to plan ahead and do our best to replicate the energy and adrenaline that we would have in a [live] audience setting.”

Shih said they are approaching their upcoming performance with eagerness and excitement.

“It is just really exciting that we will be playing together as the Baylor string faculty together for the first time,” Shih said. “I think that’s really special. I think we’re all looking forward to it.”