Call it a clazzzzical conzzzzert.
Three artists performing together at Salisbury International Arts Festival recently had an unusual standard for judging whether their premiere was successful: The more people who fell asleep, the more successful the performance.
While musicians, dancers and actors performing in Charleston during the Spoleto Festival worked hard to keep their audiences' rapt attention, Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, New York-based singer/songwriter Joanna Wallfisch and sound artist Teemu Korpipaa handed out rugs and cushions to concert goers to make their experience more conducive to sleep.
Mr. Kuusisto's description of the concert did suggest a snooze: "the kind of music between regular music and wallpaper, or lighting, or perfume." Indeed, listening to the musical equivalent of wallpaper or perfume could be soporific.
Then again, the performance featured poetry by Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare, and jazz standards as well as music influenced by the Beach Boys. Some people had to be wide awake waiting to hear what would come next.
Festival Director Toby Smith says "Pekka is an incredible musician," and he promised "a unique artistic experience that they'll never forget." Up until the time they fell asleep.
And they did. Forget distracting coughs and cell phones. This trio's biggest annoyance was some serious snoring.