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Classical Music House Parties Coming To Chicago This Fall

GroupMuse plans to bring chamber music parties to Chicago and will soon start looking for party hosts.

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DOWNTOWN — Chicagoans could soon be getting down to Chopin instead of Chance at house parties.

A company called GroupMuse plans to bring chamber music parties to homes across the city when it launches in Chicago this fall. GroupMuse, which is already established in other major cities, helps people connect with local musicians to set up casual parties with live classical music.

GroupMuse staff will start meeting with potential party hosts in October, said CEO Sam Bodkin, and they’ll launch events in November. Bodkin hopes the city will have at least one GroupMuse event per week.

“It’s ultimately about creating and nourishing … social experiences, unabashedly positive social experiences to elevate the human spirit,” Bodkin said. “It’s a great opportunity to meet folks in a low-key context. It’s not like the music at a club, which is pumping so loudly you can’t even hear yourself talk.”

GroupMuse hosts don’t have to provide food or drink, and the parties are often casual, “very warm” and “intimate,” with guests sitting on the floor, Bodkin said. Musicians perform a 25-minute set of classical music, there’s an intermission of 20-40 minutes, and then there’s another 25 minutes of music. Attendees pay the musicians a minimum of $10.

There have been several GroupMuses held in the city over the last two years, showing the company the city has an “appetite” for chamber music, Bodkin said. The feedback for those shows was “overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

“We strongly feel that GroupMuse provides something that is surprisingly hard to find somewhere else, and that really is the sense of just [an] unabashedly positive social gathering,” Bodkin said. Attendees “celebrate masterworks of art that have endured for centuries and just enjoy and really kind of steep in that togetherness as we share these great works of genius.”

Those who wish to host events will be able to go to the GroupMuse website and sign up when the company launches in Chicago.