‘Not So Classical’ engages audience through different mediums

Tatiana Berman knows there are stigmas attached to classical music in the eyes of many — that it’s primarily enjoyed by the old and stuffy, among those stereotypes.

But the Russian born American violinist also knew the great passion she had for it, and truly believed the musical genre had so much to offer were it made a bit more accessible for a newcomer.

Thus “Not So Classical” was born. The show’s format is unique in that it blends musical performance with brief film vignettes that appear between each piece. The program, starring Berman on violin and co-star Elena Kholodova on piano, features music by Debussy, Bach and Schumann.

All of it will be on display Saturday in Luling at 6 p.m., as the inaugural season of shows at the Lafon Arts Center kicks off with a double feature – a screening of the documentary Forte, which stars Berman, leading into to “Not So Classical” concert event.

Berman said the format of “Not So Classical” was constructed as a means to introduce classical music to those perhaps not familiar with it by utilizing film shorts about topics that set a mood for the upcoming song.

The effect of it all is to create a fast-paced, multimedia-driven event that keeps the audience engaged throughout.

“The films might not be directly connected to the music itself, but about a certain topic that drives the audience more emotionally and intellectually  in the direction of the music they’re about to hear. We go music, film, music, film, and combine these different art structures for a different kind of presentation,” she said.

She says one of the common reasons some aren’t interested in classical style music is that they simply don’t know where to start with it all. And, Berman says, not just any start will do in these cases.

Tatiana Berman

“With any type of music, you have some very good, and maybe some not so great … it’s important to have someone introduce you the right way so that you can later go off of that and explore different composers, different pieces … at that point, it’s so much easier to get going.,” she said. “Maybe you love a romantic style of music. Maybe you like Bach but don’t like another … the show is a way to have an initial experience with no pressure and one that’s not intimidating.”

Berman said she’s spent lots of time over the years brainstorming ways to connect audiences with the performances before them. As times change, she believes, so must change the way a performer draws in their observers.

“It comes back to the idea of connecting different art structures, like visual arts with jazz, things like that, and bridging to the future,” Berman said. “So I spent a lot of time thinking how to incorporate that into my performances, to not just hold a concert, but to tell a story that engages people. And one way to do that was incorporating more visual medium.

“It’s a different way of presenting these beautiful masterpieces, especially for people who may have a negative idea of what this style of music is.”

Tickets can be purchased at LafonArtsCenter.org or at the box office, located at 275 Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway in Luling.

Not So Classical

  • Not So Classical co-creator Tatiana Berman is a Russian born American violinist, artist, and producer and the star of the documentary Forte.
  • Berman is the founder and artistic director of Constella Arts which brings music to schools where arts funding has been cut, and is also hailed as one of the most prestigious classical music and art festivals in the United States.
  • Through the use of short films between musical pieces, Not So Classical represents a hybrid of different mediums that gives an audience an accessible way to connect with the classical music genre.


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