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Groupmuse offers a classical ‘party in a box’

Groupmuse acts as an online social connector between musicians, hosts, and audiences, and it could be coming to a city near you now that it recently finished a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

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    A Groupmuse performance in a private home.
    Ann Hermes/Staff
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As the living room and kitchen fill with more than 30 strangers and a handful of musicians, Stacey Bader Curry and David Kane are smiling. The couple has opened up their home to host a classical music pop-up concert known as a groupmuse. The start-up Groupmuse, which acts as an online social connector between musicians, hosts, and audiences, might be coming to a city near you with completion of its recent Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

Groupmuse, which was launched in Boston in 2013, is often described as the Airbnb or Uber of classical music. But founder Sam Bodkin believes it’s so much more than that. “There is not a mental model for Groupmuse that people are familiar with,” says Mr. Bodkin. “There are particular ways in which classical music needs to have the flexibility and the dynamism to really meet a new generation of listeners where they are.”

Violinist Chelsea Starbuck Smith, who performed at the home of Ms. Bader Curry and Mr. Kane, seems to agree with the accessibility Groupmuse creates. “Chamber music was meant to be played in people’s living rooms. This brings chamber music back to its original form,” she says.

On any given night, there is a Groupmuse “classical house party-concert” going on in homes across New York, Boston, and San Francisco. With the Kickstarter campaign that had raised $140,000 by the end of last year, Groupmuse hopes to expand its mission of bringing a new kind of classical music community to Seattle, and one day to Washington and Chicago.

Hosts Bader Curry and Kane say that with a 3-year-old child and demanding jobs, they are just as excited about the social opportunities Groupmuse offers. “[I]t’s basically a party in a box. They promote the event; they send musicians to your house, and send people to your house. They make it very easy, and it comes together beautifully,” says Kane.

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