bridge boston charter school - chamber music institute

In October 2017, we launched a yearlong Chamber Music Institute at Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury, MA.  Building on the school’s incredible El Sistema orchestra program, the CMI has given motivated students the opportunity to take their talent to the next level, participating in chamber music coachings and receiving weekly private lessons from Palaver Strings Teaching Artists.  Run by six Palaver musicians, the CMI has provided over 800 hours of instruction to 20 students between 4th and 6th grade over the course of 30 weeks. The primary goal of the Institute is to aid dedicated students in reaching their full potential  through focused individual instruction, while also teaching communication and leadership skills through chamber music.

Bridge Boston Charter School is a tuition-free public school that serves Boston’s children through a combination of rigorous academics, a focus on the whole child, and full-service programming. Bridge’s students include some of the most economically and socially disadvantaged in the city:  20% have been homeless, 20% have received support from the Department of Children and Families, 22% receive Special Education services, 39% are English Language Learners, and all are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Read more about Bridge Boston Charter School here>>


boston center for the arts residency

The Boston Center for the Arts has provided Palaver Strings with a yearlong residency, launching ambitious musical programming on its South End campus throughout the 2017-2018 season. This residency has supported Palaver’s' commitment to engaging new and diverse audiences through performance and community outreach, focusing on the growth of the musician-led orchestra as well as the development of new work. Palaver Strings presented two projects centered around new compositions and collaborations, incorporating theater, spoken word, and visual arts. In February, Seeking Sanctuary highlighted the experiences of Boston’s immigrant communities. Our May program, Trapped, delves into issues of confinement and deceit, in partnership with the theater company Strange News. The BCA has provided performance, rehearsal and administrative space through the residency, as well as support and mentorship for production, audience development and administration. We are grateful for all the BCA’s support so far and are thrilled to be extending our residency into 2018-2019.


boston medical center residency

Palaver Strings is in its fourth year of working with the Boston Medical Center to strengthen an atmosphere of healing, peace, and community by bringing live classical music to three separate institutions on the BMC campus. Every month, Palaver members engage with patients, residents, families, doctors, and staff through intimate discussions and performances at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, Roca Boston, and various units of the medical center. We hope that by performing in spaces that many associate with uncertainty and fear, we will reach people who may be going through difficult times and who can benefit the most from the therapeutic, uplifting, and transformative power of music.


Lullaby project

The Lullaby Project, initiated by Carnegie Hall, brings pregnant women and new mothers together with professional musicians to write original lullabies for their babies. The project is completed in three sessions: reflection and brainstorming, songwriting, and recording. It provides innovative prenatal support to families in difficult circumstances, supporting maternal health and child development and strengthening the bond between parent and child.  Palaver has now completed three Lullaby Projects in a partnership with Boston Medical Center, Vital Villages, Rosie’s Place, and our songwriting producer and engineer Matthew Brady. In June 2017, project participant Caitlin Gillespie performed her lullaby, “Harper Rose,” at Carnegie Hall, alongside two members of Palaver. In Season 4, we invited project participants to perform their lullabies at the Huntington Theater as part of our program A dormir a sonar. This concert celebrated the unconditional love between parent and child and also featured a special collaboration with pianist Moisès Fernández Via, who has been instrumental to our community engagement initiatives.  Read more about the Lullaby Project here>>



Life songs project

The Lifesongs project celebrates the stories of LGBTQ seniors in our community. Lifesongs was originally conceived by Palaver cellist Matt Smith, in partnership with the LGBT Aging Project and ETHOS, as a songwriting collaborative between Palaver musicians and elders from the community, who worked together to write original songs with lyrics drawn from participants’ personal experiences. The result were powerful stories of love, loss, courage, and affirmation. In 2019, we will showcase LifeSongs on a larger scale at the Boston Center for the Arts. In addition to new LifeSongs participants, the program will feature Samuel Barber’s iconic Adagio for Strings, a new commission by Akenya Seymour, performances by the Theater Offensive, and large-scale renditions of LifeSongs pieces, arranged for Palaver Strings and the Boston Gay Mens’ chorus. As rising bigotry threatens hard-won rights and freedoms, these stories become more important than ever as reminders of where we came from and where we are going.


bay chamber concerts residency

Bay Chamber Concerts Music Festival and Community Music School in Rockport, Maine has been a vital collaborator and advocate for Palaver’s development since our founding.  The entire ensemble visits Bay Chamber three times per year to give concerts, workshops, and rehearse in a beautiful setting on the Coast of Maine.  We are thrilled to continue to bring diverse programming and workshops to the organization throughout our fourth season.