TA Laurence Young, F 1
Tokyo String Quartet Paper
The Tokyo String Quartet’s performance made me appreciate how powerful, and
dangerous, expectations can be when experiencing a live performance and the importance of
setting them aside. Even though this was my first classical concert, I went with strong
preconceived notions about the concertgoers, the composers, the musicians, and even the
classical composition of the music. From the instant I arrived, however, I quickly realized that
my expectations were not only misplaced, but were interfering with my ability to be present in
the moment and experience fully the novel evening of music.
In order to ensure that I was not rushed and had a positive pre-concert experience, I
arrived at Campbell Hall early, 45 minutes early to be exact. As I waited for the music to begin, I
watched hundreds of concert-goers stream in and was rather surprised by the eclectic group of
people who had come to watch the Tokyo String Quartet.
There were not only students from
Music 15, but elderly couples, and families with children. I even saw a former economics
professor. When the musicians finally walked across the stage and took their seats, the audience
greeted their arrival, as well as this long awaited signal that the concert was about to begin, with
warm applause. At first, the enormity of the stage seemed to dwarf the four musicians into little
specks. However, when the lead violinist lifted his bow and wondrous sounds gushed out of his
instrument, these specks instantaneously became monstrous in size. Even though I was watching
the musicians from almost the rafters, I had an overwhelming sense of musical intimacy. They
made me feel as if they were performing just for me, and this surprised me immensely.
The first piece the Tokyo String Quartet performed was Haydn’s