come to Baltimore for each "residency," which includes 3-4 concerts. This includes established classical, jazz and folk ensembles as well as collaborations between a variety artists of different instruments and voices. Some residencies include multigenerational combinations of musicians.
The musicians bring music to people directly in their places of residence- a shelter for veterans, a women's prison or cancer treatment residence. The Azure Family Concerts for People with Autism and Similar Challenges are held at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
The concerts impact well over 1,200 people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds in the Baltimore area each season, from a young child with autism to a person serving a life sentence in prison. The residents look forward to an ongoing, regular concert series in each venue as we will not play a single "one off" concert or transport people to a concert space outside of their neighborhood.
Azure Family Concerts are tailor-made for families with children or young adults who are on the autism spectrum or have related challenges. Since many with autism (or related challenges) cannot attend traditional music performances due to uncontrollable vocalizations or physical movements, Azure concerts aim to create a musical environment where such behaviors are not frowned upon, but are accepted and embraced. The Azure Family Concerts were founded by San Francisco-based concert pianist and composer Stephen Prutsman. In April of 2017, Mr. Prutsman came to Baltimore to help us launch our own series!
From parent with a child with autism:
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a beautiful concert for our children. I started to cry when I opened the program and read the words in big letters at the top, "All behaviors welcome here... ENJOY!" The music was serene, divine, and most of all, perfect for my child. Our lives are hard, some a lot harder than others, and this concert made that all go away for an hour. It was bliss. I am forever grateful for this one hour of true joy that we had a family.”
PHOTO: Lily Holgate of the Puck Quartet at an Azure Family Concert "Instrumental Petting Zoo."
These concerts bring healing and comfort to people undergoing cancer treatment. The concerts are for patients who have come to Baltimore for the exceptional treatment offered by our many hospitals. Because these patients are living away from the comforts and familiarity of home, they can be particularly tender and vulnerable during this time.
From the Hope Lodge Baltimore:
"Your amazing performance allowed our cancer patients to, for a brief moment, forget about cancer treatments and enjoy a medley of symphonic treasures, elevating them to a euphoric state of beauty and peace. We are so grateful that you made such an incredible difference in their lives."
PHOTO: Michael Kannen and Sahun Hong at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge
These highly interactive concerts are designed to bring hope and inspiration to veterans confronting the significant challenges of addiction and homelessness.
“Thank you. The concert was most excellent. It is good to know that there are still things in life worth living for."
PHOTO: Trio Jinx with Maria Lambros and Baltimore Station residents
These concerts bring artistic beauty and personal connection to the stark and difficult prison environment.
From an incarcerated person:
“The musicians radiated what I can only call joy, a quality that is seldom seen inside these razor-wire confines. They welcomed our impressions and questions, treating us with dignity and respect. We felt valued and seen. When they began to play, I felt my whole body chemistry change for the better as the rich energy of the string instruments pulsed through my very bones. I closed my eyes, and felt I could have been anywhere on earth, and a quiet peace welled up within me. Although I have attended live classical concerts before, in the "real world," this one will always be embedded in my memory as uniquely beautiful, a true gift from God."
PHOTO: Claudia Eliaza and Dan Zanes outside of the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women