Unique seems to be an understatement for Musideum, a new performance space at 401 Richmond St. W. (Richmond and Spadina) which also operates as a retail store and a musical museum, selling and displaying authentic instruments from all over the globe, including ones from Peru, China, Australia and part of northern Canada. Like a gleaming gem from any of these far off places, the intimate space radiates with breathtaking colours and textures that offer infinite musical possibilities. Musideum is operated by Donald Quan, an accomplished film composer with a personal passion for aboriginal and contemporary world music. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the venue.
What made you decide to change Musideum from a retail space to a performance space? “I thought that by offering Musideum up only as a retail store was not doing the concept of it justice. The initial concept I had for Musideum three years ago when I opened it, included designing a space that could be used as a musical performance space and could also serve as a museum of sorts exposing the public and the world at large to music and musical instruments that have rarely been appreciated in person. Until Musideum, many of these instruments could only be seen in books or perhaps on the internet.”
How has your background as a film composer influenced the design of the space? “In order to be a film composer one has to understand and appreciate more than just music. Because film composing is a collaborative medium, one has to appreciate visual aesthetic, poetry, words, art and some less-tangible concepts.
Today I view Musideum as a single space where all of my artistic endeavours can be shared with the public and be appreciated easily. Musideum has become a venue where performers of all kinds can intimately share their music with their audience with as much resonance and as little resistance as possible. Without the distractions of food and drink for example!”
What has been the response to the venue so far? “All of the audiences have told me that they will continue to support the new Musideum venue and will come back. As a result we have over 2500 hand-signed or opt-in addresses on our current mailing list. As for performers, almost every performer we have asked has agreed to try doing at least one show here … Since last summer Musideum has hosted over 35 successful performances ranging from jazz to world, electronica, pop, experimental and more … unfortunately I’ve had to limit the publicity of the shows as the venue’s capacity is only 40 people.”
What should our readers know if they are planning on attending a performance at the Musideum? “Come early and please reserve a ticket in advance (call 416-599-7323) if you want to guarantee a seat! And PLEASE check the website before you come down to make sure you have the latest information on the shows as our schedule is constantly being added to. The link to our schedule can be found at www.musideum.com and it is updated on a daily basis.”