Quarantining string players perform a beautiful Mozart duet across balconies in Taiwan

23 November 2020, 16:43 | Updated: 24 November 2020, 17:16

Kristin Lee and Matthew Lipman play on balconies in Taipei
Kristin Lee and Matthew Lipman play on balconies in Taipei. Picture: Facebook / Kristin Lee

By Kyle Macdonald

Isolation didn’t stop this duet, as the wonderful balcony concerts of 2020 continue.

New York-based violinist Kristin Lee is currently quarantining for two weeks after arriving in Taipai. For most musicians, this would be a time for solo practice, rest, and generally missing collaborations and ensembles with other players.

But four days into solo quarantine, she discovered that her balcony was next to a fellow string player, violist Matthew Lipman. And they knew just what to do.

Together they serenaded the surrounding neighbourhood with Mozart’s beautifully interweaving lines. It’s further proof that despite restrictions, isolation and disruption, music can always find a way.

Read more: Quarantined musicians play and sing from balconies in Italy >

In her Instagram post, Kristin wrote: “The fabulous violist, Matthew Lipman and I discovered a few days ago that we can actually (sort of) see and hear each other through the balcony, so we decided to take the opportunity to play some Mozart for our neighbours in the building across from us and on the streets! Things we do to stay creative during this isolation.”

Her posts were shared with the hashtag #KeepPlayingMusic. We could not support that idea more.

Kristin Lee studied with great violinist Itzhak Perlman and has appeared as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and many other top orchestras around the world. She is also a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York.

American violist Matthew Lipman is also a top soloist and, a few years ago was named in WFMT Chicago’s 30 Under 30 list of the world’s top classical musicians.

Kristin and Matthew are both in Taiwan as part of a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center tour. There are seven musicians there in total, including co-artistic director Wu Han. They are the first American ensemble to tour in Taiwan since March.

Balcony concerts are one of the enduring images of coronavirus lockdowns in 2020, as musicians, isolated in their own homes and hotel rooms shared music with anyone who might be listening.

Here’s another of our favourites, an NHS doctor and her violinist husband serenading neighbours with a balcony duet.