Co-Artistic Director, Burbank Chamber Music Society
Newsletter: November 16 – November 26, 2017
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
“I am a clarinetist and co-artistic director of the Burbank Chamber Music Society, a collective of LA area musicians that shares intimate concerts and performances with the people of Burbank. Our concerts feature woodwinds, voice, strings, brass, percussion, and world instruments in programs that celebrate traditional, popular, and contemporary works for small ensembles.”
How did you first become interested in music?
“When I was younger I was very fortunate to be exposed to many kinds of music in many different places–Riverdance tapes on TV, attending occasional musicals with live pit orchestras, hearing film scores, my father playing guitar and, like many, a brief series of piano lessons. I did not discover the clarinet or the world of orchestral and chamber music until I took music classes at John Muir and Burbank High, and thereafter studied music through college.”
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
“It seems to me that in some way, everyone who lives makes a living in the arts. The “arts business” is everyone’s business, really, for art is everywhere–in everything that communicates with any of our (at least five) senses–whether that be inside the concert hall, or out. Something we want to do with the Burbank Chamber Music Society is to invite people to feel that chamber music–music made in small groups of some two to thirteen people, usually one to a part, without a conductor, played in an intimate space–is relevant to them, because it reflects a large part of their lives: conversation and communication. Much like the weekly Farmers’ Market, we want our concerts to be a community gathering place–an informal space for people of all ages to discover music, build friendships, and simply enjoy being together. Without a conductor, chamber music is very democratic, colleagues sharing, exploring, and implementing different ideas. For this it is known as the “music of friends,” and it is very much that way. A string quartet playing Haydn, or four people sharing their day at a dinner table–it seems in many ways so much the same. Being engaged with art is by no means limited to attending concerts, book readings, or seeing movies or plays. Art offers many things, and these experiences can offer an insulated opportunity to focus our senses, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions as guided by the shared experience of communicating this way. But in life outside the theater, this shared experience of art still does exist–and so being engaged can also mean finding it in any place it seems to be. Looking at a watercolor painting or ballet performance, or looking at the sunset; listening to Beethoven, or to the palm fronds rustling in the Santa Ana winds. Standing on a street corner, here in Burbank or anywhere, and asking, ‘How do I make a living in the arts?'”
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
“In most newspapers, there is a section devoted to “the arts”–often “Arts & Entertainment” or, as NPR says, “Arts & Life.” I worked once as an theater usher, and got to see many performances of all kinds. Our job, among other things, was to guide the flow of people and manage events, watch out for flash photography or open-lid containers, and let people know when they were leaning a little too far over the balcony railing. Big-little things that sometimes people might not know that they need. One of my co-workers was an older gentleman who had been working there for many, many years. He was very perceptive, slightly eccentric, and often told jokes or stories to whomever he happened to be working with. If we were stationed inside the theater we always got to see some of the performance, and this was the case one day when we worked together. As the lights dimmed and people settled in to watch the show, we settled in to watch them. He surveyed the balcony section and then, as it all began, turned to me: ‘People come here, and they think that this is an escape from real life. But this is real life.'”
To find out more about Nicolina’s work, visit http://www.burbankchambermusicsociety.org