One on One with Carol Gimbel – Music in the Barns Chamber Ensemble – Classical Music Outside the Box
“The ﬁrst time a child hears classical music, it is like a psychedelic experience”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it explained that way, but that’s exactly how Carol Gimbel, describes it. Hmmm. I think I get it. I’ll let you chew on that for a moment. But ﬁrst, let me introduce you. Carol is a violist, the founder and creative director of Music In The Barns. They are the resident chamber ensemble at the unique Artscape Wychwood Barns, located at 601 Christie Street, here in Toronto. Carol effuses enthusiasm, words tumbling out of her like notes in a passionate crescendo. She wants to promote classical music, so let’s get back to the idea of psychedelia. For a child who listens to the complexity of a Beethoven concerto, for instance, “The experience is fresh. They can fully immerse themselves,” she bubbles. Appreciation starts early. “I remember my parents taking me to the philharmonic in Philadelphia. Bach was the ﬁrst music I heard. My parents put a value on it. Classical music was a part of our family and how we operated.” There is great merit in this lifestyle – and if you follow it, you just may end up with a musician! Part of her mandate is to make classical music accessible to everyone. She has programming speciﬁcally for kids at The Artscape Wychwood Barns. But exploring music as a family, only enriches this experience. The Mainspace at The Barns is very family friendly and the acoustics are phenomenal. On August 1, The Music In The Barns Chamber Ensemble will be performing a summer concert. And it would be delightful if you could join them (I’m formally inviting you)…. Let’s go back a few years, to 2003. A vibrant young woman boards a plane from the Big Apple, where she had spent the past ﬁve years with a Store Front Collective, connecting with the local community in a cross disciplinary manner, with visual artists and designers. It was an idealistic space, interactive and sublimely creative. She takes her leave and ﬂies off to Toronto, where she steps onto a bus headed for Durham, Ontario, where she participates in a concert series called Symphony In The Barn. (If this sounds somewhat familiar, the “Barn” is owned by Michael Schmidt, of the raw milk crusade fame). As Carol relives this, her tone takes on a pensive, but intense feel. “It was a life changing event. There were 200 to 300 people in attendance every night. Here I am with my high heels and New York attitude, getting off the bus in the middle of the countryside and living in a tent for three weeks to play music. And people came to hear it. They were unbelievably engaged. They talked about the music and they were moved by it”. So when the Artscape Wychwood Barns came to fruition, all of these life experiences collided and the light went off for her. “There is something unique in this space and the (company) emerged organically”. As a curator, “massaging ears” with new compositions, avante garde and classical works played in “unconvential spaces that cradle and nurture boundary pushing work,” are where itʼs at for her. “There is a personal connection in Toronto. Had it not been for the interest and support of the local community, we wouldnʼt be here”, she explains. On August 1, the Music In The Barns will be performing ﬁve pieces, featuring the clarinet. Choosing pieces is “like putting a jigsaw puzzle together,” she says. For this concert, she begins with a piece by Philip Glass, the minimalist composer who wrote the score for the ﬁlm, The Hours. And so the string quartet embraces the clarinet and thus a program was built. The show commences at 7:30 with a pre-concert chat, not unlike that of the National Ballet. There will be an intermission and the music should wind up around 10 pm. Tickets can be purchased in person at Soundspace, 572 College Street, or online at musicinthebarns.com/concerts. Prices range from $30.00 to $20.00 (for student, seniors and artists). Come be inspired at Artscape Wychwood Barns Mainspace, 601 Christie Street!