Enlighten your Sunday morning with Beginner’s Ear, a guided meditation accompanied by live chamber music within our Sunken Garden. Join us for this unique event as winner of Chamber Music America’s prestigious Visionary Award, PUBLIQuartet, weave together a mesmerizing program of works that toy with our notion of time and space. The meditation is led by Thomas Droge, a teacher of Chinese medicine, Qi Gong and meditation classes, and a practicer of Tai Ji (chi), and many other consciousness awakening practices for the past 30 years.
The event is moderated by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, founder of Beginner’s Ear and contributing classical music critic at The New York Times.
Thomas Droge, meditation guide
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, moderator
All artists and dates are subject to change and cancellation without notice as we work closely with local health experts and officials.
Beginner’s Ear is an immersive listening experience that clears the mind and nourishes the spirit with silence and music. The 75-minute event begins with 15 minutes of group meditation led by a qualified mindfulness coach. Out of the resulting deep stillness, a 30-minute performance of chamber music emerges with visceral immediacy. A moderated conversation on aspects of mindful listening wraps up the session and bonds the community of participants.
For music lovers, the format reveals a new way of experiencing music. Participants report an uncannily close connection to the sounds. For meditation novices, music can facilitate and prolong the state of spacious sensory awareness that is often the reserve of seasoned practitioners.
Applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” PUBLIQuartet’s creative, interactive programming
presents contemporary works, original compositions, and improvisations expanding the role of the string quartet. In 2019 the group received their first Grammy nomination for their sophomore album, Freedom & Faith, cementing them as one of the premier new music groups of our time.
Founded in 2010, PUBLIQuartet has been presented by The American Composers Orchestra, Virginia Arts Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and The Chautauqua Institution. Their 20-21 season highlights include performances at Onstage Ogden, Underground Classical, Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project and a virtual performance with the Chautauqua Institution. PQ has collaborated with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), JACK Quartet, jazz tuba legend Bob Stewart, and innovative jazz clarinetist/composer Don Byron. Mentors include members of the Muir, Juilliard, Orion, Mendelssohn, Tokyo, American, and Brentano String Quartets and composers Joan Tower and Butch Morris. They have participated in residencies at the Juilliard String Quartet Institute, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, the Shouse Institute (GLMF), and the Banff Centre. PUBLIQuartet is currently based in New York City.
Thomas Droge has been practicing Tai Ji (chi), Qi Gong, and many other consciousness awakening practices for the past 30 years. He has been a healer an acupuncturist, a bodyworker, an herbalist, a truth teller, and spirit whisperer for the past 20 years.
He holds a Masters degree in Chinese medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, has studied at the prestigious Jiang Xi College of Medicine in mainland China, as well as attended Harvard University’s mind-body medicine program. Droge has given, directed, and integrated medical centers, his medical practices are focused on creating integrated medical solutions for people struggling with diseases ranging from cancer, to sports medicine, and general practice. He has spent more than half a decade as an advisory board member for Pacific College, and has taught Chinese medicine, qi gong and meditation classes all over the country and have attended numerous trainings in Daoism, Chinese medicine, Meditation, and Healing.
As a contributing critic for the New York Times Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim has won honors for her fresh writing and for her ability to listen to a wide range of music with empathy and an open spirit. In print and in person, she is passionate about breaking down preconceptions and unlocking the communicative power of music. Corinna created Beginner’s Ear on the belief that listening is an art form that can be cultivated, with benefits that reach beyond the concert hall. She studied music, psychology and Renaissance studies at the universities of London, Sussex and Cambridge and is a graduate of the mindfulness teacher training program at MNDFL in New York City.