The Soul of a New Ensemble: Musicians as Entrepreneurs

Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
Members of the Declassified, a new collective of young classical musicians, rehearsing ahead of the group’s debut week of performances.

In a New York University lecture hall, business school students poked at iPads and iPhones to produce short melodic loops through speakers. A few feet away, a small group of musicians about the same age played along in a performance of Terry Riley’s Minimalist masterpiece “In C.”

It was part research project, part interactive demonstration and part experiment, but mostly it was the inaugural event this week for the introduction of a new performing group called the Declassified, the latest example of young classical musicians banding together to figure out a future on their own amid a fraying and fragmenting performance world.

The 46-member collective plans to give chamber music concerts in various formations. But it mainly wants to establish residencies for weeks at a time at universities, conservatories and just about anywhere else. Performing would be only part of a menu of teaching, master classes and projects that bring audience members closer to performers.

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