Two from Dot will perform in 'Concert For One' series

Dorchester resident Ashleigh Gordon is an acclaimed violist. Photo by Monika Bach Schroeder

Two Dorchester-based musicians are among the 60 artists slated to perform in Concert For One, a new music series comprised of one-minute concerts that will take place in two Boston-area locations from September 20 through September 29. Violist Ashleigh Gordon and flutist Mayshell Morris will both feature in the music series, which was created to promote “concentrated listening” and “foster intimate connections between performers and audience members.”

The concept for the music series comes from violist and New England Conservatory graduate Rayna Yun Chou, who started the project in Taiwan in 2016 in an effort to make classical music more accessible. While the original Concert For One concept featured only classical musicians, the Boston iteration will include performers and instruments across several genres. Chou told the Reporter the idea for the concert series — presented by Celebrity Series Boston— began with a quote from Winston Churchill.

“One of my professors at the conservatory gave us a quote: ‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,’” she said. That image inspired her to conduct a “social experiment” in which musicians sit in one chair and play to a random listener in an adjacent chair. 

“In Taiwan there’s a large group of people that love classical music, but there’s a bigger group who have never had the opportunity to experience live music like that,” explained Chou. “This is my way of creating a middle ground for listeners and musicians to meet, in a format that reduces expectations and stereotypes, and creates necessary space.”

The one-minute performances, which are free and open to the public, will take place inside two specially outfitted shipping containers, one located in the Rose Kennedy Greenway’s Chin Park in Chinatown, and the other located at the Harvard Science Center Plaza in Cambridge.

Gordon said she is looking forward to the “hyper-intimate experience” of performing in the series.

“The intimacy will be increased because of the restrictions of space and the shortness of time,” she said. “First impressions can make lasting impressions, and in this case those impressions will be very personalized.”

Gordon, an internationally lauded violist, is also the executive director of Castle of our Skins, a Boston-based concert and educational series devoted to celebrating black artistry through music. In accordance with that series’ mission, Gordon said she plans to perform an excerpt from a piece of music by a black composer or a composer from the African diaspora.