Two music groups collaborated for one show in Rochester to give audiences both a taste of a medieval lute and an electric guitar. Artists hope unifying different music can also unify a diverse audience during a divided time for some.
“We were curious to see if we could pull off a concert with the two groups doing something together,” fivebyfive flutist and artistic director Laura Lentz said. “Because when you think about old music and you think about new music, you can't possibly imagine a concert in which they would work together.”
Music groups fivebyfive and Pegasus Early Music collaborate its old traditions of Sephardic music with newly arranged versions.
“Pegasus Early music plays early music on early instruments such as my lute, which I'm holding,” artistic director of Pegasus Early Music Deborah Fox said. “So we'll be doing Sephardic songs, which stem from the 15th century onwards through the 18th century and five by five will be playing new music that's based on these Sephardic tunes.”
They are incorporating both storytelling through their music, but also art.
“Usually it's on canvas, but I took them off and called them tapestries,” artist Lynne Feldman said.
Artist Lynne Feldman was invited to share her tapestry art of her Judaic series during the show.
“This is part of a Judaic series that I did about 15 years ago out of the Jewish holidays,” Feldman said. “I was very honored that the musicians really loved being with the works, that it kind of frames them and makes it very intimate. The space that they're working in. It just was very lovely for me to be a piece of that.”
Providing a variety of sounds and displays, artists hope to bring a new experience to the audience.
“We hope that this is a moment, these two hours that we're together can maybe bring a sense of unity,” Lentz said. “We hope that art can be a respite for the difficult times that many people are experiencing and going through.”
Keeping in mind the crisis occurring overseas, they hope to bring diverse groups of music and its audiences can reflect back into society.
“It's such a mixture of all the places of adopted homelands, of the Sephardic people,” Lentz said. “And you really feel like the two groups working together across thousands of years of history and music that we're finding common ground, I think that's an important message that we all need at this moment.”
It shows how despite differences, groups can come together for a larger community to enjoy in a safe space.
“I feel so fortunate to be artistic director and flutist in this marvelous group that looks to create community in its events and experiences,” Lentz said.