Evening At Musical Instrument Museum

    Evening At Musical Instrument Museum

    SHOWCASE: The 300-seat  MIM Music Theater in Phoenix has booked Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Judy Collins and Stephen Stills, and Shawn Colvin. (Photograph courtesy of Musical Instrument Museum)

    The MIM Music Theater is a jewel field in a musical instrument treasure chest. 

    “The theater is a gem and such an asset to the museum,” mentioned Wealthy Walter, MIM curator for the U.S. and Canada. “It’s a novel venue in the way in which that it’s so built-in with a bigger mission and a bigger facility that has a completely totally different function than strictly a efficiency venue.”

    Housed in The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, the 300-capacity theater attracts music lovers and performers who routinely play a lot bigger venues: Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Judy Collins, Stephen Stills and Shawn Colvin, who known as the theater “the most effective 300-seat venue within the nation.”

    The rationale has loads to do with the mission of the museum, which is a repository for 15,000 devices from 200 international locations across the globe. 

    “First off, it’s a unprecedented theater below any circumstances,” mentioned Lowell Pickett, longtime creative director for the theater. “The consolation and facilities which can be supplied for each patrons and audiences and the backstage facilities and luxury for the artists are uncommon in a theater of this dimension and doubtless unprecedented.”

    Options transcend dressing rooms and proximity of the loading dock. The monitor, entrance of home and lighting are state-of-the-art. The percussion and microphone stock is intensive. For instance, a pianist would have their selection of a Steinway Mannequin D Grand Piano or Yamaha CFX Live performance Grand Piano; a drummer may choose the Yamaha Customized Maple Drum Set or the DW, a sought-after package from the customized firm that began because the Drum Workshop in 1972.

    Evening At Musical Instrument Museum

    WORLDWIDE: One of many musical instrument museum’s many galleries, the Ghana show Features a complicated African xylophone, with 18 wood keys. (Courtesy MIM)

    The fan expertise is equally spectacular. Seats are a spacious 22 inches broad, with ample leg room and a pitch that gives an unobstructed view of the stage. 

    “MIM was a purpose-built facility in each regard,” mentioned Walter. “There was the museum gallery element, however they knew it was essential to have a world-class efficiency house so that they rigorously thought-about all the things that would go into a perfect house.”

    “Dwell music is a particular relationship that develops and exists between an artist and the viewers and that relationship is enhanced by all of the qualities of that theater,” Pickett mentioned. 

    MIM and the MIM Music Theater, which opened in April 2010, was designed with acoustics as a precedence. Meyer Sound put in the system and tuned the room after set up to be adjustable for performers from genres together with jazz, classical, rock, bluegrass and Americana. 

    Guitarist “Leo Kottke advised me, he’s heard issues on that stage he’s by no means heard earlier than,” Pickett mentioned. 

    There have been 295 performances in 2019 and they’re on observe for a similar quantity in 2023, together with Kottke, Pancho Sanchez, Riders within the Sky, Spyro Gyra, BoDeans, blues instrumentalist Vanessa Collier and Grammy-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard.

    Surrounded by probably the most intensive assortment of devices on the planet, the stakes are excessive, however so are the alternatives. American violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who performs a violin made in 1742 by Joseph Guameri, was invited to carry out as a part of a musical sequence constructed round an exhibit of the best violin makers on the planet. Guameri and Stradivari are thought-about the 2 biggest of all time. 

    The theater “does embrace and punctuate the mission of the galleries and the programming of it,” Walter mentioned. “It’s actually various and it does enable a number of the MIM story to return to life in reside efficiency.” 

    “The design of the room, the gear we’ve got within the room, the standard of the staff, add that to the best musical instrument museum on the planet,” Pickett mentioned. “With the world of music inside these partitions from each nook of the world and the symbiotic connection between the theater and what goes on within the museum elevates it to a totally totally different place and differentiates it from every other efficiency house within the nation.” 

    Hurdles nonetheless exist, akin to convincing artists, managers and brokers that taking part in a 300-seat theater gained’t have an effect on the market or the optics for these performances. On Pickett’s brief checklist of goal performers are cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a solo acoustic blues efficiency by Eric Clapton.   


    MUSIC FACTORYLadysmith Black Mambazo is proven taking part in the MIM Music Theater. The venue is hooked up to the Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix, which incorporates a assortment of 15,000 devices. (Courtesy venue)

    Pickett mentioned the venue is considered by way of its world attain and stature, not its dimension. “It doesn’t draw away from every other venues,” he defined. “Phoenix is a big group with great venues and performing arts facilities and it’s dispersed over a big geographical space. I’ve by no means thought-about us competing with them as a result of MIM is its personal entity.”

    Artists agree the MIM Theater and museum are particular. “We hear from them that it’s a enjoyable, rewarding musical expertise,” mentioned Walter. “They’ve been beneficiant with the compliments. From the stage to the room, to the sound technicians and again of home, we make a number of effort to make that have occur.”

    Picket mentioned, “In the event you look all over the world, there is no such thing as a different place that has all of these attributes in a single house and the factor that differentiates it’s the high quality of the theater and the connection to the museum. Once I’ve taken folks by the museum, they get a way of what this constructing represents. Mick Fleetwood mentioned it was ‘like going to heaven.’ David Harrington mentioned it was ‘like strolling into the soul of mankind.’ Bob James mentioned, ‘I’ve been in music my total life and this place humbles me.’”