While the in-person perspective has sadly been missing on this for a while, it’s heartening to hear oboe player Ciara Glasheen-Artem talk about how similar dynamics led to the creation of chamber group Winds of Change, a quintet of woodwind players with experience in ensembles the world over, focusing on classical and contemporary pieces written for their configuration.
“Like many of the best smaller groups and bands that play together, either as classical musicians or bandmates, in a pop band or rock band, I think a lot of the time, it starts out with friendship. And that’s a very strong starting place for a lot of groups. I don’t think it matters what type of music you’re performing. I think that’s an undercurrent in a lot of really successful groups.
“Specifically, when we’re deciding on repertoire, I suppose there are particular works that are very popular in each genre, and works that would be quite well known, and the Poulenc Sextet is one of them. It’s a very important piece in the canon, so to speak, for wind quintet and piano, and as an ensemble, we hadn’t played it before. So it was one that we wanted to tackle as a group, together. And the other piece, the Thuille, is a very Brahmsian-type work that we thought would be a nice fit to provide just a little bit more
“And when that’s taken away, it’s quite soul-destroying, to have your world collapsed. You no longer have an outlet, a creative outlet, to share your work and to share your artistry.”
On that note, the live sector has been making tentative steps to return to functionality, if not normal - and that’s a process that will take time too. While venues and agencies have put tours on sale for later in the year, festivals like Dublin’s Longitude hip-hop weekender have fallen foul of the logistical issues behind honouring announcements for summer this year.
“We’re often a round peg that people try to force into a square hole, and I think it’s important for government and any organisations providing funding and support to performing artists, that they listen to the artists to make sure that the artists are getting what they need, to ensure that the the industry recovers. But I think that we can grow and, and develop and learn from this experience as well.