Columbus’ annual VIVO Music Festival kicks off this week and, like just about everything else this year, it looks a little different.
In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the sixth season of the week-long festival launched Monday under the name VIVO Reimagined. For the past five seasons, VIVO’s annual festival has presented world-class chamber music concerts at venues around Columbus near the end of summer.
This week’s all-virtual series of performances, open rehearsals and round table conversations is the first of a planned series of three “movements” of virtual events that will unfold throughout the 2020-21 concert season, VIVO leaders say.
“With COVID, we’ve had to completely change our timeline for how we think about what we’re doing,” said VIVO violist, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director John Stulz in a recent interview. “We’re just committed to continuing to build community through music, even if it’s mainly in the digital sphere.”
Featured musicians for this week’s VIVO Reimagined: Movement One series include, among others, Stulz, VIVO Music Festival Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Siwoo Kim, Calidore String Quartet violinist Jeff Myers and Alicia Hui, principal second violinist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Kim says the dates for VIVO Reimagined: Movements Two and Three will be announced as the season progresses and as safety dictates.
This weekend, audiences can watch VIVO musicians rehearse in VIVO Studio, Saturday, Aug. 29 at 4 p.m. The rehearsal will be livestreamed on YouTube from GrooveU, a music industry entrepreneurship program based in Dublin. Musicians will be answering questions during the rehearsal via YouTube’s chat function.
VIVO Homeland will be released online Sun., Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. The program features VIVO musicians playing chamber music masterworks by Haydn, Kodaly and Schumann, performed in the Columbus Museum of Art’s Derby Court.
Audience members can view VIVO Homeland free of charge, in keeping with VIVO’s pay-what-you-want pricing policy. Those making donations of at least $10 before the end of that livestream will be given access to a post-concert reception with the musicians on Zoom immediately after the livestream ends.
All of the festival’s virtual experiences can be viewed at time of release and for at least one week immediately afterwards through the VIVO Music Festival’s website. Those experiences include events from earlier this week – VIVO Studio, a roundtable conversation with festival musicians, as well as tonight’s (Aug. 25) virtual new music concert VIVO Postcards, presented in collaboration with the Johnstone Fund for New Music.
Beyond VIVO Homeland, VIVO will release video performances and musician conversations on its website every Sunday at 4 p.m. throughout the 20-21 concert season, as part of the VIVO Retrospectives series.
VIVO Retrospective performances draw on the video archive of performances from earlier VIVO Music Festival seasons.
“With things so unpredictable,” Kim said, “we’re gauging the safety and comfortability of everyone.”