Last September, I was lucky enough to attend a Groupmuse organized by Dan Guarino at the Rockaway Artists Alliance. Groupmuse is a network in which local classical musicians are matched with hosts who would like to bring classical music salons to their living rooms (and sometimes larger venues, like RAA).  Chamber music began when members of the aristocracy would have classical musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert play in their homes for their guests. Groupmuse brings this art form to communities so that people can generate their own classical music house concerts.

Falling in love with this idea, as I used to host piano and violin salons for my three classically trained daughters and their friends growing up, I became a member and an avid attendant and host of Groupmuses. On June 29, The New York Times lauded pianist, Daniel Colalillo, performed at my home for an audience of perhaps 20 people. A vibrant and eclectic group of people attended, many of who were strangers to each other before the event. One of the wonderful things about Groupmuse is that it creates a community of new friends who share interests and enthusiasm. Daniel’s program included:

Olivier Messiaen - Prelude No. 1 La Colombe (The Dove)

Claude Debussy

Preludes Book II

No. 1 “Brouillards”

No. 8 “Ondine”

Preludes Book 1 No. 10 “la cathedrale engloutie”

John Adams - China Gates

Alexander Scriabin - Prelude and Nocturne for the left hand alone Op. 9

Chopin - Ballade No. 4 in F minor Op. 52


Daniel enriched his performance by briefly explaining what the pieces were about, such as Ondine, Debussy’s prelude inspired by Aloysius Bertrand’s tale of a water sprite singing to lure her mortal love to her sea kingdom. When he resists, as it would result in his death, she breaks into glistening waterdrops against his window. Due to the themes in this tale, there are lovely glistening passages interspersed with agitation. Daniel made the piano sing the tale.


Daniel exercised exquisite control over the sensitive Scriabin Prelude and Nocturne for the left hand alone. Adam’s China Gates was performed as a dreamy, melodious series of feathery notes almost floating above the piano and through the air. Chopin’s turbulent Ballade No. 4, despite its many difficult double-note passages, appeared effortless. The tension rose to a breaking point at the end when it was silenced by its dramatic ending.

Daniel has recently released a CD, Mostly Scriabin, that is available on CdBaby, iTunes, and Amazon.

Stay tuned for information on my next Groupmuse event.

If you are interested in finding out more about Groupmuse, whether it be attending or hosting, check them out at


Photo by Dan Guarino.

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