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You thought Boston Calling had a lot of acts? 5,000 mini-concerts planned in Boston, Cambridge

An artist’s rendering of the performance space, showing it on the Science Center Plaza at Harvard. The containers will be more colorful in real life, a spokesman said.Celebrity Series of Boston

Got a minute for a concert? That’s all you’ll need.

Boston and Cambridge will be the scene of 5,000 brief concerts in two pop-up locations in 10 days in September, Celebrity Series of Boston said.

The one-minute concerts, featuring one musician and one performer, will be staged in specially modified shipping containers on the Greenway in Chinatown and on Science Center Plaza at Harvard University from Sept. 20 to Sept. 29, the nonprofit performing arts presenting organization said.

The concerts will be open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. daily at both locations.

“The idea is to provide powerful, free music experiences for thousands of visitors, and foster intimate connections between performers and audience members,” the organization said in a statement.


The project, “Concert for One,” will involve nearly 60 musicians participating over 120 hours. The musicians, including professionals, conservatory students, and highly trained amateurs, will be paid to perform.

The musicians come from many musical backgrounds and will play a variety of types of music, including classical, contemporary, jazz, and world music, the organization said. The musicians will play various instruments, includings strings, woodwinds, and pianos.

The installations will also include an area for people to share their experiences in person and online, learn about the project, and interact with musical instruments, the organization said.

Rayna Yun Chou had the idea for the project.Celebrity Series of Boston

The idea came from New England Conservatory graduate and violist Rayna Yun Chou, who in 2016 produced a similar project in her hometown of Taichung City, Taiwan, the organization said. Chou had talked with fellow musicians who felt isolated from their audiences. She was also concerned classical music was becoming inaccessible to younger and diverse audiences because it tends to be played in high-priced venues.

“I decided to test how courageous we could be as musicians, audiences, visitors, friends and strangers,” Chou said in the statement. “Could we create a space where players and listeners would spend one minute of time together? What would happen when listeners really listened, and musicians could see the immediate reaction of the people they played for?”


Gary Dunning, executive director of Celebrity Series, said the program is consistent with a key Celebrity Series organizational mission: The arts should be available to everyone.

“With Concert for One, we’re offering thousands of special moments for anyone who wants to experience one,” he said in the statement.

The performance space and “back of the house” storage space.Celebrity Series of Boston