CapitalBop presents Simone Baron’s “genre-fluid” chamber ensemble, Arco Belo, in two shows this Sunday and Monday

occupy our dreamscapes!
resist oppressive specificity !
free the space on the margins!

Those three lines from Simone Baron’s “ruin manifesto” provide some insight into the strikingly unique sound of her chamber ensemble, Arco Belo. The format of the group is a blend of traditional Western classical piano quartet with a jazz combo, but more unusual still is Baron’s refusal to compromise either the structures of classical composition or the personality-driven dynamism of jazz and improvised music. 

Her music is not a crossover between the two worlds, which are so often pitted against each other, “classical” and “jazz.” It’s fully in both, all at once.

In any Arco Belo performance, an audience experiences Baron’s vision as a composer through complex and compelling string arrangements and gradually developing themes. Yet there is a spark in Baron’s playing, and in the playing of each member of her carefully assembled group, that guarantees each performance will be different from the next.

Arco Belo is in full bloom, and you do not want to miss them when they’re in town. Fortunately, you’re in luck: CapitalBop is presenting the group as part of our newly resurrected artist residency, in two shows next weekend: Sunday, March 13, and Monday, March 14.


The Sunday show will take place at 7pm at Pen Arts (1300 17th St. NW) near Dupont Circle. Monday’s special filmed concert will be at 8pm at the historic All Souls Church (1500 Harvard St. NW) in Columbia Heights. Tickets are on sale now, $10 when ordered in advance ($5 for students).

In a 2019 interview with CapitalBop on Arco Belo’s debut album The Space Between Disguises, Baron described her music as “genre-queer… my term for this shapeshifting, genre-nonconforming, non-binary music. It’s neither classical nor jazz; neither casual nor formal. This music embodies the spirit of the musical polyglot, restlessly searching for the next texture, the next timbre, the next melody.” 

The “oppressive specificity” Baron rails against in her manifesto, without a doubt, takes many forms, in society’s demand for us to fit every part of ourselves into boxes: our gender; our sexuality; our artistry; our culture.

Sometimes all it takes to free our imagination is a bit of inspiration and a small push. Hearing Arco Belo live will certainly provide both. Join us this weekend as we free the space on the margins and let our imaginations run free!



About Jamie Sandel

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Jamie is an organizer, musician and multimedia creative. He is a native of Silver Spring, MD, and returned to the D.C. area in 2018 after some time in Massachusetts, where he assisted the Amherst College Concert Office and the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. He graduated with a degree in music from Amherst College. Reach Jamie at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wjsandel.

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