Throughout history, from the early consorts of the European Renaissance (fourteenth through seventeenth centuries) to the rent parties of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s and 1930s), having “house concerts” has been a way to introduce an audience to new chamber music compositions and play for an appreciative audience in an intimate space. The rent parties that flourished in New York, Chicago, and Detroit (among other places) in the early to mid-twentieth century were just that: a way to help pay the rent! And let’s not forget the tradition of folk music house performances and sing-alongs that are also part of the house concert’s long and varied history.
Today house concerts—albeit in a more refined form than the rent parties—are once again gaining in popularity. Performing artists in the current generation are looking to find not only creative approaches to reaching new and appreciative audiences but also ways to make a living doing what they love.
The Oakland Public Library is delighted to present a program—“