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Happy New Year (Good Riddance 2020)!

Happy New Year!

Ladies and gentlemen, we made it!

It’s been a long time (a full year!) since we were last together! Suffice to say, 2020 was an unwelcome and bad strange trip. But here’s to a better 2021!

Before we completely close the book on a truly terrible year, I wanted to share a few musical bright spots that I discovered along the way. Some of these came about because of the events of 2020 and some are just new to me. Either way, they helped keep me sane!


For the ultimate classical nerd experience, TwoSetViolin’s YouTube channel has been a boon. Eddie and Brett are two Aussie violinists (and bubble tea enthusiasts) who have made a career out of their YouTube project. Together they share their thoughts, talent, observations, and unique humor with us.

In the process, they’ve made friends with the always amazing Hilary Hahn and the awesome Ray Chen as well as being supportive mentors to their viewers. All while making more viola jokes than anyone thought possible. And of course encouraging us to practice 40 hours a day! ๐Ÿ˜„

Check out their channel for the full experience. For a quick taste, here they are playing their fans’ compositions. I love that they support young musicians!

Unfortunately, they are taking a bit of hiatus as Brett has fallen ill with an undisclosed malady. But hopefully we will see more from them as soon as he is well!

Hildegard von Blingen

That is not a typo. But a brilliant YouTube channel from a Canadian woman who joined the bardcore movement and made it her own.

Bardcore is a tricky beast. Much of it is fun but the quality can be pretty cringeworthy. However, Hildegard has managed to create music that feels more authentic and sincere. She puts a lot of thought and effort into what will work in this style. Her output isn’t as prolific as some of the other bardcore purveyors, but in my opinion it is the best quality. Plus she actually covered her namesake Hildegard Von Bingen! Hopefully we’ll hear more from her this year!

Check out this awesome version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”:

The Netherlands Bach Society

In a truly monumental undertaking, this talented group decided to record every Bach piece and give them to the world in the All of Bach project. Things of course went a little sideways in 2020 but that didn’t stop them. It was hard to choose just one performance! Frankly, the Goldberg Variations by Sexy Jesus Jean Rondeau almost won. But this unique performance of the 6th Cello Suite (of course cello!) by Sergey Malov came out on top:

Livestreams and Historic Concerts

Artists had to get creative in 2020. One bright spot for the fans were all the livestream performances and the release of historic concerts. If we couldn’t see them live, at least we could still enjoy them at home!

I’m sure you have your favorites. And if you’re like me, you drove your neighbors nuts when you forgot you aren’t supposed to cheer and clap and sing along in an apartment! :X

Speaking of cello, naturally some of my favorites were from Apocalyptica. They did a few free streams early on (and paid ones later). While the second stream was excellent and in a cool setting in the Finnish woods, it was their first one, sitting around in a practice space that won my heart. Here they are in all their goofy, extremely talented glory:

As for historic performances, Metallica went big and released a number of full length concerts in the early months of the pandemic. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but Live from The House of Vans in London really stood out. It’s a crazy club and the energy is contagious! Oh, how I miss live shows!

It seems that the guys pulled it from their channel but through the power of the internetโ€ฆ

Musicians had to scramble hard to survive 2020 and will still need to hustle in 2021. Please continue to do what you can to support your favorite artists. Not everyone has the resources to donate funds (but if you do and can, go for it!). Yet even just sharing their music or listening on a streaming service helps artists out!

Before We Move On

Lastly, a few housekeeping items for the new year:

  • Even though I’m currently working on building a new career, I’ve missed MATR and will be posting more this year. Of course the bar set last year means I’ve already achieved my goal! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But in earnest, expect to see more from me this year!
  • The site is having a serious spam comments issue right now. While I sort that out, the comments are off. Hopefully they will return shortly once that is resolved.
  • The social media presence will be changing this year as well, as I move away from Facebook. Keep an eye out for those updates!

Thank you for your patience in the last year! May 2021 be the best year it can be for us!! And in the meantime, you know what to do: Wear a mask, social distance, wash the hands, and be excellent to each other. ๐Ÿ™‚