Playing Every Town for a Cooler Climate
Sharon, Vermont on November 13. David’s en route to your town, too.
If you live in Vermont, pianist and UVM music professor David Feurzeig will be coming to your town to make music. He believes it’s the least he can do to help foster the storied sense of community in Vermont’s small towns. Having begun with an inaugural concert in May, 2022, his “Play Every Town Project” aims to bring a performance of live music to each and every one of the state’s 251 (or as his website seems to have corrected, 252) towns in the next five years. Each concert will feature Feurzeig on piano; he plans to tailor the concerts to reflect the unique character or history of the town. He hopes local musicians in each location will join him..
The isolation of COVID times was not the only motivation for the project, but the pandemic did play a role. Feurzeig recalls: “In November 2021 I played my first full-length solo gig since the start of the pandemic. I felt rusty! I asked myself what would be the opposite of not performing a single recital for over two years. How about 251 in under five?”
Even before the pandemic, though, Feurzeig had a different concern: climate change and the effects of touring on the environment. “Long-distance jet-dependent concertizing is not limited to star performers: for academic musicians as well, like me, there are incentives to fly, fly, fly. The farther the gig, the more prestige and promotion/tenure brownie points earned—even at UVM, my green-branded employer. (Look at my bio: I still boast about my premiere in Dresden! my performance in Bangkok!)”
And so he has given up flying, and plans to tour using public transportation and his solar-charged electric car. That will restrict his radius, but he’s content for now to confine his project to the state in which he lives. Not that there won’t be other challenges, David acknowledges:
OK, every town in Vermont. But for a pianist, that’s easier said than done. The median town in Vermont has about 1300 inhabitants, and towns that size do not necessarily have a decent piano in a public space. (I live in a town of over 1900, and we don’t.)
My preference will always be to find a good acoustic instrument in good working order. Living rooms are eligible! Where there is no viable option, I will use an electronic keyboard. But I welcome tips and suggestions: if you know a good place to play, especially in smaller communities, please let me know! [email@example.com]
So when will David be coming to a Vermont town near us? Following past concerts in Upper Valley towns Chelsea, Strafford and Randolph, a concert is scheduled for Sunday November 13, at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon, Vermont at 3:00 pm. (Doors open at 2:30) Sharon resident and renowned pianist Annemieke McLane will join him. Admission is free.
(Photo, top, by Bailey Beltramo, UVM Communications. Quoted text via the artist’s website and press release. For more information about the Play Every Town Project, please click here.)
News re: Artful. We are just approaching our 2,000 subscriber benchmark. Help push this over the top! If you like Artful, please share this post with your friends (the blue button is just below) and urge them to subscribe. As Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center recently posted:
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.