Arts in Education - Breaking Down The Barriers

Pre-concert talks are an integral part of a Four Nations concert. The music at hand is placed in context through allusions to society, history, art and literature. Humorous and sometimes shocking anecdotes convey serious and illuminating information. Andrew Appel, artistic director of the ensemble, challenges the audience with questions and signposts that direct the attention of each listener and enhance his or her enjoyment of the repertoire.

A chamber music concert by The Four Nations Ensemble is not meant to feel like a presentation of a virtuoso in isolation. Chamber music is about interaction, about an exchange of ideas. In educational, amusing and non-didactic pre-concert discussions, relationships are drawn between the less familiar world of music and the more commonly known arena of literature, art, and history. Information and issues are brought to the fore in order to focus the audiences' attention on savory and remarkable aspects of the music and to make clear the relationships that exist between every piece on the program.

Unlike the audiences of the past, all of whom played instruments and knew the issues of structure and technique, today's audience responds to and benefits from information as an aid to appreciation and pleasure.Turning the concert hall into the music room and the artists into guests and friends is one challenge to today's musicians, and one that The Four Nations Ensemble enjoys.

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