Best. Show. Ever!

Ani Aznavoorian, better than Britney Spears.

Ani Aznavoorian, better than Britney Spears.

I recently logged on to Facebook to see my home page peppered with status updates from friends declaring, “Britney Spears!! Best Show Ever!!!!”

Really? Sure, her music is danceable, but she can’t even sing without technical backing. I started to wonder if these exclamation-mark-happy friends even knew what constituted a great concert, or even great music. Before the visual flair is added—choreography, costumes, an albino Burmese python—the music must be, well, good. Therefore, it seems like a perfect time for a lesson in great music, which might as well start with Beethoven.

Chamber Music Alive! will offer three concerts through April 2010 performed by various classical musicians. And the Sierra College Foundation wants people to be really excited about the event, jumping on the exclamation-mark bandwagon—but for good reason. Each concert will feature at least one piece by Beethoven, along with music by Dvorak, Mozart and Mendelssohn. The first concerts on October 3 and 4 will feature violist Sharon Wei, pianist Natsuki Fukasawa and cellist Ani Aznavoorian. They’re all amazingly talented and expertly trained musicians from schools such as The Juilliard School and Yale University, not The Mickey Mouse Club. They’ll perform Beethoven’s String Quartet, Opus 18, No. 4, along with music by Dvorak and Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla. Excited yet?

Don’t discount this event because it’s classical music. Anyone who’s seen the film The Red Violin knows string instruments possess an intense seductive power. It’s more of an aphrodisiac than “I’m a Slave 4 U.” And that requires only one powerful exclamation mark.