Last May composer-pianist David Feurzeig embarked on Play Every Town: 252 free concerts in each of Vermont’s 252 towns to combat climate change through the power of community and music. With this project David will become the first musician to perform in every Vermont municipality.
Feurzeig is traveling in his solar-charged electric vehicle throughout the state, offering free concerts to bring attention to the interrelated issues of climate and community, while bringing the joy of music to his audiences. He will perform at the Charlotte Congregational Church at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12.
“I want to support Vermont’s local communities with live performance in village centers and downtowns, while fulfilling the University of Vermont’s mission to serve as a resource for the whole state,” Feurzeig said.
A professor of music at UVM since 2008, Feurzeig specializes in genre-defying recitals that bring together music of an astonishing variety of musical styles, from ancient and classical to jazz, avant-garde and popular traditions.
Each program includes local customization. At Charlotte Congregational Church, the choir will sing music of 19th-century Vermont hymnodists, and music director Cameron Brownell will join Feurzeig for a set of songs by Gabriel Fauré.
Like every performance on the tour, this one will include its own unique Domenico Scarlatti keyboard sonata: Sonata No. 24 for this 24th concert in the project. The bulk of the concert will be made up of ragtime in surprisingly varied styles from Joplin to contemporary works, including Feurzeig’s “Stride Rite,” a ragtime parody of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” and “Celebration Rag” by Vermont composer Preston Murphy.
Short classical pieces will round out the program, including “Another Time” by Vermont composer Eve Beglarian.
Feurzeig finds his approach attracts new audiences to so-called “classical” concerts and brings new insight to existing fans.
“Classical music culture puts the ‘great composers’ on an almost religious pedestal. Once this was an indication of the audience’s love and respect, but it distances people from the music. It turns away new listeners, who feel like they’re in a stuffy museum instead of a live concert,” Feurzeig said. “Sure, the music can be serious, but there’s no reason anyone should feel intimidated. And if I don’t get a laugh from the audience in the first two minutes, I get worried!”
Follow Feurzeig on his journey on Instagram, find up-to-date events via Facebook or visit the website.
Feurzeig said, “Like so much of our everyday life, routine jet travel is unsustainable — which means something it’s literally not possible to keep doing. I want to model a performance culture that doesn’t require hopping on a plane and flying all over the world.”
(Brady Jalili is public relations coordinator for David Feurzeig’s Play Every Town project.)