Seattle Symphony was named Best At-Home Local Arts Experience in 2020's Best of the Best.
The Seattle Symphony is making beautiful music together - again.
“It was beautiful, it was like, wow, this is what we live for, that was the feeling that I had. It was very exciting I remember, and very joyful,” said Concertmaster Noah Geller.
Geller is among the musicians who have been gathering on stage at Benaroya Hall for live streaming performances since September 19th.
There may not be an audience.
But there's something special about these shows.
"Our concerts right now, it really feels like we are playing for our lives,” he said.
Seattle Symphony’s President and CEO Krishna Thiagarajan remembers the exact date when the music stopped: "March 11 we had to shut down - stop all performances. That was just surreal. Musicians sitting at home, not connecting with audiences, that's not what we were meant to do."
Online fundraisers - recordings of pre-pandemic shows - brought in some money for the non profit.
But the thing the musicians missed most? Playing music together.
"But we were determined to find ways to get through this and come up with unusual solutions to a very unusual problem," said Thiagarajan.
The Seattle Symphony consulted with experts from hospitals, the UW and Harvard Medical School about how to make music - without making each other sick.
Today, nobody gets on stage or backstage without a weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, COVID test.
Musicians wear masks - the orchestra is smaller - and concerts are shorter.
All to limit exposure.
Thanks to these measures the Seattle Symphony is performing live shows again and streaming them online. Not quite like being at Benaroya Hall, but there are plusses to enjoying an orchestra at home in your jammies.
"I do think that the quality is great,” said Geller. “If you've got a good set of speakers, if you crank it, you'll really enjoy it.”
After all, music is essential. Especially to the artists who make it.
“To make music and connect with your fellow musicians and connect with your audience, I think it's everything. It's what we live for. It's what we do.” Thiagarajan said.
“I just want to say how absolutely proud I am of our organization right now, and how happy I am to bring some form of music to our audience,” said Geller. “I just can't wait to see everyone when this is all over.”