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Hub New Music Share Experience On How They Performed Amid Pandemic Restrictions During COVID-19

In Live Q+A Session, Hub New Music Taught BYU Students How to Be Innovative While Pursuing A Career in Music

On Feb 1 through 3, leading up to their performance on campus, Hub New Music members mentored BYU students by providing three days full of masterclasses and lectures. Hub New Music is a grammy-nominated quartet. The four members include flutist, Michael Avitabile; cellist, Jesse Christeson; clarinetist, Gleb Kanasevich; and violinist, Meg Rohrer. This ensemble celebrates classical music by creating new pieces with fresh, culturally relevant sounds using wind and string instruments.

Christeson and Rohrer take pictures with students after strings masterclass
Photo by Scott Young

During their masterclasses, Hub New Music provided a unique opportunity for students to ask the ensemble questions in a two-hour Q+A session. In the session, each member of the ensemble provided their feedback.

When asked how the group was inspired to create Hub New Music, Christeson said, “This group is what it is because we believe strongly in the combination of these four instruments. Flute, cello, clarinet and violin are four of the most played classical instruments, but are very seldom historically put together in this combination. We felt there was untapped potential for both high end, top drawer artistic work, but music that could be played in schools.”

Students also asked the group about their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and how their ensemble withstood the effects of the pandemic. The group responded by saying they had to be scrappy, resourceful and use their connections. Avitabile said after rescheduling and canceling multiple events due to the pandemic, they decided to move most of their concerts online. They found a library in Boston with a beautiful concert space that was letting artists use it for free during the pandemic. They used this space and had connections to videographers that gave a huge discount.

Avitabile, Christeson, Rohrer, and Kanasevich answer student's questions in Q+A session
Photo by Scott Young

Avitable also said that after getting the space and videographer, they reached out to many presenters such as schools, colleges, or other clients and asked if they would be interested in their virtual concerts instead of the in-person performances that they had been preparing for. Hub New Music then sent high quality, personalized concerts to each presenter instead of sending the same performance. Avitabile said, “They were struggling too, so we worked together to push each other through it.” Ultimately, they recorded 25 individual concerts.

Scott Young, a music minor who attended the Q+A session said, “I was strongly impacted by what Hub New Music said about their experience during the pandemic. Most of Hub's Opportunities to collaborate came from personal relationships with the composers and other musicians. It inspired me how they were working together with others in the industry to push each other through this pandemic, without looking selfishly inward.”

Photo by Scott Young

In their Q+A session, Hub New Music demonstrated their ingenious ability to create their ensemble and their capacity to be resilient and inventive through using their coordinator to withstand the effects of COVID-19. Their visit helped students create flexible and resilient plans for their future careers.