Friday, December 14, 2012

Featured Vendor: Five Senses Tastings

The saying goes that "music soothes the soul". Who would have thought that it could do the same for our taste buds.  If you are a lover of music, cheese, wine and of course chocolate; then prepare yourself to experience the new phenomenon of "tasting" the music.

 Five Senses Tastings is the first performance-­based special events company that presents music in “tasting” format, pairing each musical selections with wine, cheese, and chocolate so that each element may be more fully­and artistically-enjoyed.

I had the opportunity of meeting Kala Maxym, Founder and CEO of Five Sense Tastings, and after our brief encounter I was so amazed by the uniqueness of her company I just had to know more.

Read on as The Amethyst Corner chats with Kala Maxym of Five Senses Tastings:

So please tell us the story behind the birth of 5 Senses Tastings?

The concept for the company comes from my discovery that oftentimes people are turned off by having to sit through an entire evening of entertainment with little more than some lackluster program notes to help them understand the motives, history, and impulses behind the music, the composer, the poet, the artists, etc. During my years as a professional opera singer both in the US and abroad, I met many people who told me they just could not face sitting through an entire opera because they were bored. Now that could have been because the opera was bad, but it could also be because opera is really hard to understand. Classical music in general is actually really hard to understand and it takes time and energy to learn about it.

I came up with the idea for tasting music in a bit of a flash moment when I realized how silly it was to expect new audiences simply to be born out of thin air. We have to cultivate them but not just by telling them they have to like something or bribing them to go to a concert or opera. I believe we must present something they do not know within the framework of something they do know.

Most people have been to a wine (or beer or whiskey or cake) tasting and we understand the concept: try four or five things, one or two of which might be familiar, but the large majority of which won’t be. We might like some, may not like others, and almost certainly we will learn something. When it dawned on me that this had not already been applied to music I knew I had stumbled upon something wonderful.

Heather, our Wine Specialist, came on very early and helped to shape the pairing with our music and language. She also prepared our first private event with the most amazing wines I have ever tasted. Our newer additions, Business Development Manager, Aimee, and our Storyteller, Mirabelle, who threads our programs together with fabulous creativity and writing.

What sets Five Senses Tastings apart from the standard set up that we commonly find at “Wine and Cheese” events?

 I absolutely love wine tastings and cheese tastings but I have always felt that I am left wanting something more at the end of it. I usually feel as though there is a story lacking that puts it all together for me, and I often leave not really remembering what I tasted.

What Five Senses Tastings offers is a full sensory experience based in live performance. We are a special events company that presents music in tasting format. We take the concept of a wine tasting, apply it to music, and then customize it to the person, place, event, country, etc that is being celebrated. We then pair our musical selections carefully and artistically with wine, cheese, and chocolate in such a way that the artistic flavors, harmonies, stories, histories of the music are brought out, explored, challenged even in the wines, cheeses, and chocolates we choose.

 It is, most importantly, however, a live-music performance event and because we do create a story around all the elements we present, there is an educational component as well that we’ve found our audiences really love and appreciate.

 The ability to “taste” the music—this is quite a unique concept! How do you create the program music and wine to fit each client’s style?

 We’ll always start with a theme: an event, a person, a country, that’s being celebrated. We’ll ask questions, lots and lots of questions.
Here is an example of the questions we would ask a man wishing to create a 40th wedding anniversary party for his wife:

  •  Where did they meet?
  • When did they meet?
  • What languages do they speak? Love? Wish they spoke?
  • Is this a humorous event? A serious one? A bit of both?
  • Can we poke fun at something (or someone?) through our musical choices?
  • What poets or composers do they love?
  • What genres of music do they love?
  • What genres are they not terribly familiar with but would like to learn about?
  • What are their pet peeves?
  • Do they have children? Shall we involve them in something?
  • Is there a particular wine they love (or hate!)?
  • What about chocolate? White? Milk? Dark?

 In terms of how we pair our selections, we take a lot of time to think about the flavors and emotions of the pieces we choose, whether instrumental or vocal. Are they languid or lively, romantic, independent, minimalist, do they evoke a color or a country, a flavor or smell that we can identify? We think a lot about this when pairing our wine selections, and then our cheese and chocolate as well.

 So you see, first of all, we really try to get at the heart of who the people are, what they are trying to explore and define through this experience, what they already know and love and also what they wish to learn about. Then we look at the music we select and analyze it very carefully and artistically so that we put together a program that is both intimate and a bit daring at the same time!

What musical styles are available at Five Senses Tastings? Who do you have the pleasure of collaborating with to create these one of a kind experiences for your clients?

Our Roster Artists perform a myriad of genres from classical to Broadway, tango and jazz, and flamenco to opera. Our artists have performed in world-renowned opera houses and concert halls and include a Grammy award-winning tango pianist, a vocal jazz quintet, a couple of amazing opera singers, a jazz saxophonist… it really does run the gamut. Of course space and budget constraints determine how many artists and instruments we can fit into an event but we’re very creative and have a wide range of artists who perform with us.

What should we expect to see in the near future for Five Senses Tastings?

We are gearing up for a fabulous public launch event at the end of February, which will be something of a “coming out” party. Our private events continue as well, and we are working on a couple of programs now for Women’s History Month, which is in March. We are currently working on a few events with some lovely wine bars and wineries around town; however, I cannot say anything quite as please stay tuned!

To learn more about Five Senses Tastings, please view the links below:

View the Five Senses Tastings' website
"Like" Five Senses Tastings on Facebook
Follow Fives Senses Tastings on Twitter

 Five Senses Tastings Credits:

No comments:

Post a Comment