About the Series

Mozart was once “new music”  
Monet was once “new art”  

Creativity is exploding in the Washington, DC area. Artists and musicians are experiencing the same world you are, and they react to it through their creations. Sometimes these works are hard to find, and even harder to understand, even for the people who are passionate about spreading and supporting it.  

This series will reach out to those passionate people, give them a platform to share the most incredible things they’ve found, and team them up artists, movers, designers, and other creatives to curate an experience designed to make you love it just as much as they do.  

I like telling people it’s like any other very specific appreciation. I, personally, enjoy a glass of wine but couldn't tell you the difference between one classification and another; but if a connoisseur put me in the right environment, showed me what to smell, taste, and feel for, I could get a glimpse into why so many people chase the endless subtleties and variations. Same with sports, or craft beer, or quilting… Think of your personal obsession; how would you coax someone to love it? How would you convince them it’s worth appreciating?  

For the artists of this series, it is our mission to show you that not all new music is abrasive or abstract, that even when it is, it can be contextualized and inspiring, and that the creative minds of our time have left us wanting more from traditional presentations of music and art. It’s been over 100 years since Schoenberg's atonality… Take a chance and see what’s happened since then! Please support our mission, attend our concerts, and hear / see / feel the new concert experience.  

Alec Davis, artistic director 

THE GREEN STAIRWELL CONCERT SERIES WILL BE CURATED AROUND FOUR PRIMARY GOALS

GOAL 1: The Music

  • To exhibit newly composed and rarely performed music
  • To centralize and support local musicians who are passionate about new works
  • To curate music that echoes the time in which we all live as a powerful means of shared experience

GOAL 2: THE CONCERTS

  • To manipulate perception through irregular positioning
  • To implement technology, light & sound design, and exploit acoustic irregularities
  • To push the expectations of both performers and audiences in the direction composers have been evolving

GOAL 3: THE ARTISTS

  • To foster collaborations between artists or various disciplines
  • To incorporate elements of film, dance, theater, & spoken word to create powerful themes
  • To commission new art prints as collectible gifts for audience members, replacing the traditional program

GOAL 4: THE AUDIENCE

  • To provide an intimate view into seemingly inaccessible music
  • To present only to small audiences and provide an immersive front-row experience to all
  • To partner with music education and arts accessibility organizations to help spread cutting edge art in our community
Soprano Shauna Kreidler Michels sings Arvo Pärt's "My Heart's in the Highlands" for a GSCS demo film

Soprano Shauna Kreidler Michels sings Arvo Pärt's "My Heart's in the Highlands" for a GSCS demo film

For example:

Timber   -   presented by QuaQuaQua as GSCS I.IV (May/June 2019) 

Timber is an hour-long percussion work by Michael Gordon, played by 6 percussionists who stand in a circle, each playing a piece of wood at a different pitch. The sextet has already commissioned a lighting designer to create reactive light for the work, so that a visual element is added. For this performance, the group is partnering with a homeless shelter and advocacy organization, and will use reclaimed wood from condemned houses in Baltimore as the instruments. We will partner with a photographer or artist whose themes surround homelessness to create a temporary gallery in the Sanctuary, beneath the windows. The limited 50 person audience will started in one position in the sanctuary, then at one point allowed to stand and walk around the sanctuary, see the players from many angles, and view and reflect on the images; then, by a certain point, they’ll be instructed to sit at designated places, far away from each other and removed from a feeling of connectedness. The program will be an 8x10 cardstock print of an original piece of art commissioned with this theme in mind of a local visual artist; this commission will have a limited run of prints, all of which will be signed and numbered, with basic programming information (including the sponsors) on the reverse. 

Other Projects:

  • REVELAVIT: A program of works for soprano (Aani Bourassa) and electronics about the fluidity of memory (Stairwell)
  • ANALOGY FAIR: Virtuosic percussion (QuaQuaQua) meets theatrical absurdity (Sanctuary)
  • THIRD PRACTICE: DC-based vocal ensemble (Third Practice) bridges the gap between classical and contemporary music (Stairwell)

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR FIRST SEASON HERE