Chamber concerts in a homey atmosphere

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Carol Sorgen

Pianist Daniel Weiser founded AmiciMusic, a program presenting chamber music concerts in intimate settings, including area retirement communities and a venue in his own home.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Weiser

Daniel Weiser wants to bring chamber music “alive” for Baltimore audiences.

“This type of music isn’t meant to be performed in large venues,” the Peabody-trained pianist said. “It’s made for a more intimate setting.”

With that in mind, Weiser, who is in his late 40s, founded AmiciMusic, meaning “music among friends,” about five years ago in Asheville, N.C. He performs regular chamber music concerts in both Asheville and Baltimore, where he moved in 2013 when his wife, who is a physician, took a position at GBMC.

The couple and their twin daughters now live in Guilford in a home they bought because Weiser took one look at it and thought it would make an ideal “living room concert hall.”

According to Weiser, the objective of AmiciMusic, whose Baltimore concerts began about a year and a half ago, is to break down barriers between performers and the audience by including brief discussions of each composer with the performances.

All is offered in a relaxed and informal real-home atmosphere in hopes of enticing new concert-goers — especially younger audiences who may not have been exposed to classical music previously.

“We want the audience members to enjoy the energy of the performances, and the spirit of community and camaraderie,” he said, adding with a laugh, “And food and drink help the ambience.”

Monthly concerts

About once a month, Weiser presents a concert for about 30 to 45 people at his home, usually on a weekend afternoon. Weiser performs on the piano, and is joined by other musicians — some of whom are from Baltimore, with other colleagues and friends who come into town.

Each concert has a theme. Past shows, for example, have included “Cellicious,” with music by Popper, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, performed by Weiser and cellist Cecylia Barczyk, and “By George,” with Weiser performing music composed by George Gershwin from 1916 to 1928.

Upcoming concerts include “The B’s
in Spring,” including works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Bernstein. That takes place on Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m., with Weiser on piano and guest artist Tim Schwarz playing both violin and viola.

“By George, Part II” takes place on Saturday, May 14, at 4 p.m., concluding the two-part series on the life and music of George Gershwin. This concert will focus on his music after 1930, including several arias and scenes from “Porgy and Bess,” with singers Sabrina Clark and Robert Cantrell.

Well-traveled performer

Weiser earned a doctorate in piano/ chamber music from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Samuel Sanders and Robert MacDonald. He won the Richard Franko Goldman prize for outstanding contribution to musical and education life.

He has performed throughout the world, from the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, as well as in Israel, Thailand, Holland and France.

Besides founding AmiciMusic, Weiser co-founded and still serves as artistic director for Classicopia, a similar type of chamber music organization based in New Hampshire. He was also a founding member of the Adirondack Ensemble, which won a Chamber Music America award for inventive programming and outreach.

In addition to performances at his home, Weiser brings his concerts to retirement communities, and hopes to expand to other venues as well, while still keeping things intimate.

“It’s a special thing, for both the audiences and the musicians, when they can connect with each other,” he said.

Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased online at www.amicimusic.org. (The address for the concerts will be on the website.)