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Shuttered factories, abandoned warehouses and boarded up store fronts are being re-purposed as galleries and performance spaces by people with passion and vision. Art From the Ground Up was created to provide a showcase for some of the most innovative members of Pittsburgh’s emerging arts community.00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f7706f0000Art From the Ground Up is hosted by Bob Studebaker and is a monthly series highlighting small grass roots arts organizations and individual artists that take non-traditional approaches to the creation, presentation, and even the definition of art.Know an organization Bob should check out? Email him with your suggestions.

For the Black Orchid String Trio, Performance Also Means Engagement

The Black Orchid String Trio is comprised of Amber Rogers, Rachel Smith, and Jennifer Sternick.

“We’re new musicians,” said Smith, the group’s cellist. “We do play classical music now and again, but part of a contemporary performance, especially, is to present it in a way that classical music isn’t standardly presented.”

Rogers plays viola and is the director of the ensemble. She added that “there’s also, sort of, this implied sense that if you as an audience member don’t like the piece that you’re somehow intellectually inferior, and that really bothers us … we think it’s crap”.

The Black Orchid String Trio actively engages audiences with explanations of the pieces they play and by talking at length about the instruments they play.

“People are often too hesitant to ask (questions),” Sternick, who plays violin.

This group however actively encourages questions and audience interaction.

Because there hasn’t been much written for string trio they also actively seek new compositions often working with composers living in Pittsburgh. This is important to them, and they’re glad to be contributing to the canon of work for the string trio.

“Those pieces are still going to exist as part of the trio repertoire that is going to last forever,” Rogers said.