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Leonard “Lenny” Matczynski

Playing for Peace through Chamber Music

When attending a chamber music concert, you are no doubt transported by what you hear. It is an artistic experience. But you are also witnessing interpersonal exchange, teamwork, and connection. That is one of the beauties of chamber music: a small group working together as a unit, without barriers and walls, to reach a goal.

Chamber musicians work it out by themselves, with no conductor, and with many interpersonal dynamics happening every second. They need to respond to each other in the moment and be creative about the challenges they face due to the myriad of possibilities presented through music: when to start and stop, communicate the tempo, or know how loud or soft to play. How do they do this in relation to the other players and how are they trained to deal with those questions?

They are trained in the five skills of chamber music: watching, listening, sensitivity, flexibility, and adapting. Chamber musicians use those skills to work as a team. These are the exact same skills we all need to get along and function in today’s world.

Leonard “Lenny” Matczynski, Director of Apple Hill, will explain how those skills work through Playing for Peace, founded by Apple Hill in 1988 as a way to bring together musicians in political conflict and have them play chamber music. Over the span of 30 years, this program has grown to now include communities under-represented or under-exposed to classical music, communities separated by racial or ethnic discord, or separated by gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, and playing level.

With a career spanning over 30 years, Matczynski has been a concert violist, teacher, and arts administrator. As the Director of Apple Hill and with the Apple Hill String Quartet, he is the spokesman for Apple Hill’s mission and its representative to the music community, patrons, and audiences.