No one who drives past BuzzBrews kitchen in Lakewood will mistake it for Carnegie Hall. Yet every Tuesday night, the unassuming diner hosts a classical music open mic when instrumentalists and singers gather for a lively and laid-back evening of music-making.
Founded eight years ago by a pair of friends and at the Lemmon Ave. location until it recently closed, Classical Open Mic is a forum for anyone, from professionals to high school band kids. Everyone seems to know one another, and the audience is indistinguishable from the performers, who must occasionally pause midmeal to take their turns onstage. You’re unlikely to find a more diverse night of music anywhere. One session this summer featured a wildly offbeat grab bag: folksy tunes for solo clarinet; a soprano singing both Italian opera and Etta James; Beethoven string quartets; two silver-haired gentlemen who introduced themselves as “the opera dudes”; and a self-described “hillbilly quartet” earnestly proffering bluegrass.
No one seemed to mind that the Etta James and bluegrass weren’t exactly classical. Nor did the occasional wrong note raise any eyebrows. A tuning fork isn’t needed when you’re fork deep in tooty fruity pancakes.
Increasingly, classical musicians are shaking off dusty old stereotypes about the priggishness of their craft by abandoning traditional concert halls for alternative performance spaces. Here are some places you can hear classical music in a relaxed setting.
Arts District Showcase
On select Fridays, pack a lunch or purchase snacks in the Meyerson lobby for a free, low-key concert featuring performers of all stripes—jazz, soul, pop, classical, and more.
Enjoy free classical music talks led by local musicians and musicologists accompanied by complimentary lunch from Central Market. The next one, “Tempo and the Meaning in Music,” with Peter Kupfer, happens October 4 at noon in the Meyerson’s Horchow Hall.
Mozart in the Bar
Led by DSO violinist Lydia Umlauf, these free, standing-room-only pop-up performances are held at watering holes like Black Swan Saloon in Deep Ellum and Bar Belmont in Oak Cliff.
The parent organization of Classical Open Mic hosts pay-as-you-wish performances by professional musicians at places like Times Ten Cellar in Lakewood and AllGood Cafe in Deep Ellum. The group also offers holiday stage comedies around Halloween and Christmas.