It’s mid-winter and finally snowing in NYC, I’m hauling my ass across town after work through sleet-ish snow and 6 inch black pools of drain water. It’s been a minute since we’ve hit up Lincoln Center performances, and I’m especially looking forward to hearing some classical harpsichord.
The performance is a chamber diddy with Accademia Bizantina, a group that prides itself in the use of period instruments that align with the music they perform.
I discovered this special series of chamber music was happening via Instagram, scrolling by the ‘lil ads as they came by. In the ad, there was a harpsichord – at this performance, there was NOT. And of the three pieces they had, two were Mozart! Which should further indicate that a harpsichord should be in play. Consider me bummed.
That was the situation on stage, but the audience was tripping too. I rarely see millennials my age at classical music performances, and because I’m a life long violinist, I’ve been attending such concerts alone since I was 18. Most folks sitting around me are old enough to be my grandparents. I generally don’t mind this, and it’s even fun at times to see how they differ in polite demeanor from other cliques. For example, as I was sitting in the lobby waiting for the seating into the theater to begin, a couple sat next to me on the bench. Drawing in my notebook, I didn’t pay them any mind. Still, after a couple of minutes, the man turned to me and apologized for sitting at such an angle on the bench, that his back was turned away from me and we wouldn’t be able to converse. Converse? In my mind I’m thinking. ‘I don’t even know you, why would we be conversing?’ 👀 But I’ve also experienced this apology by the same demographic at concerts in London as well.
At least they try to be nice, because it’s common for me to be the only Black woman sitting in the entire theater. If there are people of color present, its most often in service positions as employees of the theater. Sometimes the elderly attendees in my row ask me if I’m present as part of a high school scholarship program or some investment into urban youth. I attempt to take a deep breath, smile politely and reply, “Uh, no…I just like classical music.” As my head rages on thinking, ‘Bitch! Obama don’t mean shit around here do he?’