Well, Pimp My Ride might be a wee bit misleading, but here we are. What actually is going down is The Concert Truck is rolling into town and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has sort of adopted it.
Concert pianists Susan Zhang and Nick Luby installed a concert piano into a moving van, painted it black and modified it so that one side completely opens. It’s a fully outfitted mobile concert stage with lights and a sound system that “brings classical chamber music directly to communities,” according to the DSO.
Zhang and Luby have been playing outdoor chamber music in The Concert Truck since 2016, but it's now become the perfect venue for socially distanced crowds. For the next two months, they’ll be in Dallas, performing concerts at different outdoor spots like Klyde Warren Park, The Nasher Sculpture Center and Dealey Plaza.
According to an article in The Post and Courier, Luby initially got the idea for roving concerts while sailing with his grandfather. They’d go on long trips stopping at small towns along the East Coast but Luby missed playing the piano, so he would find churches in some of these towns where he could play. He said people would literally wander in off the street, sit and listen.
The pomp and fanfare inspired Luby to create a type of traveling concert hall. He and Zhang were able to secure partial funding through a program with the University of South Carolina and the South Carolina Arts Commissions.
(Can’t we do this with DJs and all manner of musicians? A mobile stage to take to the people! "Dance party on my street at 7 p.m.!)
The concerts are free and last about 45 minutes. The Concert Truck premiers at Potter's House Church, Saturday, Nov. 21. Keep up with The Concert Truck's schedule on the DSO’s site, which will continually be updated.
In other news, the DSO also recently performed the U.S. premiere of Absence to a sold-out, sociallydistanced audience a the Meyerson, which is now available on their NextStage virtual site. This orchestral work was inspired by Beethoven’s “conversation books,” which were notebooks the deaf composer used to communicate with others.
Magnus Lindberg, one of Europe’s most notable composers, created this 9-minute piece to reflect the short contrasts in how Beethoven lived.
“What struck me when reading the fascinating Konversationshefte ["conversation books”] of Beethoven, was how the themes ranged from household practicalities or where to find the best ‘kaffeehaus’ to sublime philosophical matters,” Lindberg said about the work. “These sharp contrasts were how he lived, always able to change the mood within a second. Beethoven seemed to be nervously adapted to this: going from the unexpected to the next unexpected seemed perfectly natural. So from this, I was inspired to embrace contrast rather than avoid it, with no fear of sharp cuts."
The piece is performed by violinist Hilary Hahn and is available online through the NextStage site for $10.