Me2 / orchestra celebrates 10th anniversary, free concerts Burlington Boston

A music organization dedicated to supporting mental health is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a concert this week in Burlington and a performance next weekend at a famous Boston music hall.

Me2 /, which bills itself as the only classical music organization in the world created for musicians living with mental illness and the people who support them, marks its first decade with a free concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 13 at the University of Vermont. Recital Hall in Burlington. The organization was formed in Vermont in September 2011 by Music Director / Conductor Ronald Braunstein and Executive Director Caroline Whiddon, months after Braunstein was fired by the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association.

“I decided that I no longer wanted to be subject to stigma and discrimination in my field,” Braunstein, who lives with bipolar disorder, said in a press release. “At that point, I decided the only people I wanted to work with were people like me – people with mental illness and those who would support me even if I wasn’t having a good day. “

The orchestra will perform works by Berlioz, Rossini, Elgar, Yousufi, Grieg and Beethoven. The program will feature brief stories shared by the orchestra’s musicians who are living well with mental illness, according to the press release announcing the performance. The public will also be invited to participate in a question-and-answer session titled “Ask Us Anything!” “

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Ronald Braunstein, co-founder and musical director / conductor of Me2 /.

Me2 / is an unauditioned orchestra of musicians aged 16 and over. About half of musicians live with a diagnosed mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.

“From a social justice and inclusion perspective,” Whiddon says in a press release, “it is powerful for members of the audience to break free from traditional expectations at a classical music concert and see people like them on stage “.

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From its beginnings in Burlington, Me2 / has expanded to include musical ensembles in New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and Massachusetts, where it is headquartered in offices provided by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. The organization has been featured nationally and internationally by “Today”, The New York Times, BBC News and more.

Me2 / will bring together 100 of its regional musicians for a concert entitled “Stim-Free at Symphony Hall” at 3 pm on Sunday, January 23 at the Boston Symphony Hall, home of the famous Boston Symphony Orchestra. As with the Burlington concert, admission to the Boston show is free.

How to see me2 / orchestra

What: Me2 / 10th anniversary celebration

When: 8 p.m. Thursday January 13

Or: University of Vermont Recital Hall, Burlington

Information: To free; spectators must wear masks and show proof of vaccination at the door.

What: “No stigma at Symphony Hall”

When: 3 p.m. Sunday 23 January

Or: Boston Symphony Hall

Information: Free with reserved tickets; participants must present ID and proof of vaccination to enter Boston Symphony Hall.

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