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2 Classical Groups Kick Off City Of Boston's Alternative Space Program

Castle of our Skins members Ashleigh Gordon, Fred VanNess and Javier Caballero perform at the AT&T space in Boston. (Amelia Mason/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Castle of our Skins members Ashleigh Gordon, Fred VanNess and Javier Caballero perform at the AT&T space in Boston. (Amelia Mason/WBUR)

Two classical music groups, Equilibrium Ensemble and Castle of our Skins, have been selected to participate in the city of Boston's new initiative to turn underutilized commercial space into rehearsal venues.

The Alternative Space Pilot Program — which, it should be noted, has to do not so much with "space pilots" as "alternative spaces" — is an initiative from the city's new cultural plan, Boston Creates. It represents a small step toward addressing the crunch facing artists of all types in a city where rehearsal space is scarce and rental prices are high.

On Friday at the AT&T store on Boylston Street, Mayor Marty Walsh welcomed the two musical groups. The Equilibrium Ensemble and its related concert series both present new music by local composers, often edging into the avant-garde. Castle of our Skins highlights works by black artists about black heritage in performances that merge music, history, dance and visual art.

"Space is a really critical resource for ensembles in this town," says Equilibrium artistic director Mischa Salkind-Pearl. "It can be costly and it can be hard to find, and just having a place that’s convenient, and that’s really welcoming, is enormously helpful."

The groups will have free access to the roomy upstairs space at the AT&T store in Boston for a three-hour block once a week for the rest of the year.

Massachusetts Eye & Ear and Plumbers Local 12 Union Hall have also made commitments to provide space for the program.

Related:

Amelia Mason Twitter Arts And Culture Reporter
Amelia Mason is an arts and culture reporter and critic for The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team. She covers everything from fine art to television to the inner workings of the Boston music scene.

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