|Posted on April 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM|
When it comes to small ensemble playing, I greatly admire the Afiara String Quartet not just as musicians (they are AMAZING), but also in how they present themselves. This is a picture from one of their performances:
Polished, well-fitting, comfortable, everything. If you were in the audience when this quartet walked onstage (and you’ve never heard them before), your first impression (which is visual!) would be that you knew you were in for a good concert.
This is the Xenia Ensemble from a performance in Italy.
I’m sure they’re a wonderful ensemble, but visually speaking, the only thing interesting is the 2nd violinist’s hair and the pipa player’s top. Oh. And the chairs. As I mentioned in Part 2, wearing all-black on a black stage, makes the ensemble disappear.
Here is a picture of the Imani Winds performing a young audiences show.
Notice that they aren’t wearing anything that makes them look imposing (such as all-black or tuxedos). The women are also wearing shirts that are appropriate for this type of performance (i.e. no cleavage) and yet all of them are still dressed up and look nice.
You may remember also from Part 2, my advice on making a choice. Just as Lady Gaga has made a strong to choice with her wardrobe, there are classical musicians doing the same. For example, take the spectacular violinist, Hahn Bin.
His attire is pretty out there (though he backs it up with amazing playing) and while I may not personally agree with his choice, I appreciate that he fully commitments to it.
Lastly, conductors should like nice, too. This is Larry Rachleff.
Not only is he an amazing conductor, but he is always dressed impeccably. His jacket fits, he can still easily move without his shirt cuffs sticking out a foot past his coat sleeves, the style is unique and it’s appropriate for the performance.
Hopefully, these pictures give you some idea of what to wear for your next performance. For now, I will get off my attire soapbox and go practice.
Stay tuned for next week’s entry, SPEAKING FROM THE STAGE, where I will discuss how to do that without sounding like the world’s worst music history teacher.