Concert for One: Solo Performances Touch the Heart

Music becomes magical through personalized concerts.

Jul 7, 2020

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Music can be calming, balancing, and healing. Music lovers now have a unique and powerful opportunity to experience sound as never before by attending a concert for one. In this seemingly timeless moment, one spectator is privileged to hear an exclusive concert played by one professional musician.

Although these concerts are not a new idea, they are gaining momentum in times when intimate gatherings are the norm. In the fall of 2019, Boston’s Concert for One held ten days of free performances by 60 musicians. 

Now, La Gare, a jazz club set in a former Parisian train station, is offering free five-minute jazz “tête-à-tête” solos. According to The Guardian, the club features three artists every evening and, to date, has given 3,000 solo performances. The club owner and street artist, Julien de Casabianca, explained that he could have opened the club to smaller audiences who sat socially distanced. But he decided against it as distance would create a “barrier” between the musician and the audience. He said he wanted to build intimacy and so he created these personal concerts. 

The one-person concerts are so popular at La Gare, people wait outside in line to enjoy this experience. Only couples and family members can enter together, otherwise people go in alone.

Once in the room, the spectator sits quietly and respectfully across from the musician. Julien de Casabianca told The Guardian, “Even before the coronavirus we would ask people not to talk during the concerts and never turn their back on the musicians. In most places, they say the customer is king, well at La Gare they’re not. The music is king. And we want people to give it their full attention.”

In Stuttgart, two symphony orchestras are offering one-person concerts performed by one of their musicians. The Stuttgart State Orchestra and the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra are offering free ten-minute concerts in a choice of 27 locations, including an eerily empty airport, a terrace overlooking a vineyard, and a villa, according to The New York Times. People who sign up for a concert do not know which instrument or genre of music they will hear until they arrive.

The idea is to stir raw emotion. The rules are simple and empowering. The musician and spectator lock eyes with each other for 60 seconds and remain silent. Music is played and when it is over   there is no applause the audience of one simply gets up and leaves.

The approach completely engages both spectator and musician in the moment, not allowing for any distractions. When people lock eyes with a musician and listen to music that is played directly in front of them, the moment is intense, magical and transformative. People say they are leaving in tears.

The one-person concert is also an unforgettable experience. Since each performance is one-on-one, it is a unique, singular life experience leaving most people feeling touched to the core.

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.