The following is posted with the permission of ChamberFest Cleveland and the author.
By Donald Rosenberg
What a difference a year can make. In 2022, we were still overwhelmed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which had an impact on every phase of life. Arts organizations responded by programming with an ear toward symbolism, inclusivity, and hope. ChamberFest Cleveland was among the groups that reflected the times with a spectrum of enlightening repertoire if not solemn, then often serious in expression.
ChamberFest’s 2023 season has a markedly different thrust.
“We wanted this season to be lighter and more upbeat,” says co-director Diana Cohen. “Last year was the fog of Covid. There were a lot of dark pieces.”
The season’s theme began to come into focus after co-director Roman Rabinovich reread Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The 1984 novel’s musings about the human condition and music, Rabinovich sensed, would be a big help in inspiring a compelling selection of works, which they clearly did, without rigidly dictating the season’s content. “We didn’t want it to be a literal translation in musical terms, but to give birth to the imagination,” Rabinovich says. “It gives us a frame. That’s what we’re after — that telescope to look through, a certain lens of ideas, and then we can be free with it.”