Saturday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m.— Thetford —Last May composer-pianist David Feurzeig embarked on “Play Every Town”: 252 free concerts in each of Vermont’s 252 towns to combat climate change through the power of community and music. With this project, he will become the first musician to perform in every Vermont municipality.
On Saturday, he’ll play his 22nd concert at the at the First Congregational Church, 2596 Route 113, in Thetford. Admission is free. Donations will be accepted to benefit 350 Vermont (350vermont.org).
He is traveling in his solar-charged electric vehicle throughout the state, offering free concerts to bring attention to the interrelated issues of climate and community, while bringing the joy of music to his audiences.
“Like so much of our everyday life, routine jet travel is unsustainable—which means something it’s literally not possible to keep doing. I want to model a performance culture that doesn’t require hopping on a plane and flying all over the world,” Feurzeig said.
“I want to support Vermont’s local communities with live performance in village centers and downtowns, while fulfilling UVM’s mission to serve as a resource for the whole state,” he added.
Feurzeig, a professor of music at UVM since 2008, specializes in genre-defying recitals that bring together an astonishing variety of musical styles, from ancient and classical to jazz, avant-garde, and popular traditions. These striking juxtapositions, peppered with informative and humorous commentary, create eye- and ear-opening programs that will change how you hear all kinds of music.
Each program includes customization to the time or place. The Ludlow program featured “Happy Birthday Martin,” Feurzeig’s tribute to Martin Luther King, born this day in 1929. Like every performance on the tour, this one will include its the appropriate Scarlatti keyboard sonata: Sonata No. 22 for this 22nd concert in the project. The concert will include ragtime in surprisingly varied styles from Joplin to contemporary works, including Feurzeig’s “Stride Rite,” a ragtime parody of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” and “Celebration Rag” by Vermont composer Preston Murph. Short classical pieces will round out the program, including “Another Time” by Vermont composer Eve Beglarian.
Feurzeig finds his approach attracts new audiences to classical music and brings new insight to existing fans.
“Classical music culture puts the ‘Great Composers’ on an almost religious pedestal. Once this was an indication of the audience’s love and respect, but it distances people from the music. It turns away new listeners, who feel like they’re in a stuffy museum instead of a live concert,” he explained. “Sure, the music can be serious, but there’s no reason anyone should feel intimidated. And if I don’t get a laugh from the audience in the first two minutes, I get worried!”
In summary, Feurzeig added: “Not just for stars, but in academia as well there are pressures on musicians to travel far and wide, to maintain an international presence. We take this and a thousand similar practices for granted—but they’re simply not compatible with a livable world.”
For more info: Instagram, find up-to-date events for your town via Facebook, or visit PlayEveryTown.com.