What we are

Groupmuse is a worker- and musician-owned cooperative seeking to uplift artists and strengthen broader community bonds through live, intimate performances of historically-rooted music.

At first glance, Groupmuse is an online platform where hosts and musicians organize concerts (which we call "groupmuses") in non-traditional spaces, such as living rooms, backyards, church basements, and public parks.

But ask any long-time groupmuser, and you’ll learn that Groupmuse is about so much more. It’s about building real, in-person community. It’s about bringing friends along and making new ones. It’s about giving and receiving gifts seen and unseen. It’s about closing your eyes and being transported during a particularly powerful passage of music. It’s about feeling connected to yourself, your local community, and the world.


What’s “historical music?”

For much of Groupmuse’s life, our focus was exclusively on western classical music. After George Floyd’s murder in 2020, we decided to broaden our focus to encompass all historical music traditions of the world. After all, a groupmuse is powerful not because the music comes from Europe—but because it’s music that has been handed down through the generations, too powerful, too beautiful, too alive to be lost to time. It’s through the connection to humans in space (packed together on a living room floor) and through time (maintaining glorious centuries-old musical traditions) that Groupmuse’s wholesome and transformational community-building power shines.

We define historical music as:

  • Rooted in a tradition than can be traced back at least 100 years.
  • Performed by artists making a lifetime commitment to this tradition.
  • Intended for performance at an intimate scale.

Why cooperativism?

Integrity for us starts from the internal structure of our company and propagates out. Our small team of core staff are organized as worker-owners in a cooperative. We collectively decide our own leaders, we determine our budget collaboratively and transparently, and we work through hard decisions together.

We recognize that musicians are inherently community builders, that Groupmuse depends on them to develop our shared cultural infrastructure. As such, we needed a structure that invites, meaningfully rewards, compensates, and celebrates our own exquisitely skilled practitioners of these ancient arts. In 2021, we invited a Council of musicians to develop our internal structure for musicians, the keystone organizers of our community. In October 2021, the Council launched our musician-ownership program in the coop, and we welcomed our first ten musician-owners. (You can learn more about that in our article "Become a Musician-Owner at Groupmuse".)

When we dream, we dream of a massive network of Groupmuse cooperatives, each run locally by musicians and hosts, federated into a global ecosystem for live art, all depending on shared infrastructure built and maintained by a central administrative and product team. We’re not there yet, but we have the vision, and the structure as it ripens into reality.


Our values

At Groupmuse, we use these three values to guide our work. By talking about these values and reinforcing them through our work practices, we hold ourselves in alignment around the way we want to show up in the world.

  • Listening: To oneself; to others; to the world. Presence, availability, and connection.
  • Heart: Manifesting love, thought, care, empathy, and honesty in your work and relations.
  • Impact: Commitment to cultural transformation on every scale, from the smallest to the most grand.

Origin story

Groupmuse's origins can be traced back to the Boston apartment of pianist Cristian Budu, in 2010. There, musicians from the New England Conservatory would gather for chamber music house parties that would rattle the rafters with the sweet sounds of Brahms late into the night. Groupmuse founder Sam Bodkin was lucky enough to be invited to these concerts, developed the idea while working for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and put on the first groupmuse in 2013.


Funding

Groupmuse is organized into two distinct legal entities:

  1. The Groupmuse Cooperative is a worker- and musician-led business entity which carries out our daily operations supporting musicians and hosts, delivering successful events, growing the community, and developing revenue streams. It supports itself through event income, community revenue, ticketing partnerships with other concert presenters, and more (and was profitable until the pandemic hit). If you’re interested in investing in the Cooperative, we offer preferred stock in the form of Investor Shares with limited voting rights and capped returns. If you're interested, please contact [email protected].
  2. The Groupmuse Foundation is our parallel 501c3 nonprofit, stewarded by a generous board of arts patrons, which fundraises and supports much of the musician-first work we do. Compensating musicians for their performances and administrative labor is important to us, so initiatives that are musician-first are funded by grants from the Foundation. Anyone can support Groupmuse’s model of keeping live music accessible while guaranteeing musicians a minimum payment, by making a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Foundation, please contact [email protected].

This dual-structure path was carved through many years of challenges and exploration. Groupmuse has always operated along an awkward middleground between a non-profit and a for-profit entity, making it difficult to find aligned capital. In the arts world, we didn’t follow the traditional arts non-profit playbook and structure. In the for-profit world, we weren’t interested in extractive capital. However, with a small seed round in 2014 and a successful community Kickstarter campaign in 2015, we were able to develop a sustainable business model by 2016. With the launch of the Groupmuse Foundation in 2020, we’ve been able to source different capital from different sources, each aligned with the work they’re funding.




Staff / Worker-Owners

Scott Garlinger

Partnerships and Event Production
Chicago

Alexander Dubovoy

Product
Berlin

Adrienne Baker

Muser Experience
New York

Mosa Tsay

Foundation and Steering Committee
New York

Christos Vayenas

Musician Development
Boston

Sam Bodkin

Foundation and Steering Committee
Washington, DC Area

Bexx Rosenbloom

Accounting and Event Production
Philadelphia

Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim

Musician Relations
New York

Kyle Schmolze

Product and Steering Committee
Oakland



Musician Council / Musician-Owners

Ian Scarfe

Pianist Ian Scarfe enjoys a busy career as an advocate for music. He manages a busy performance calendar that includes solo, ensemble, and orchestra appearances, which take him across the United States and Europe. An entertaining and articulate speaker, Scarfe finds himself equally at home in formal concert venues, halls of higher education, and casual events such as house concerts and jazz clubs.
Scarfe is the founder and director of the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival, an adventure-based touring festival that has brought musicians from all over the world to scenic rural Northern California. Since 2011 the festival has presented over 500 public concerts free and open to the public, with a special focus on rural communities and unexpected outdoor venues in scenic wilderness areas.
Scarfe makes his home in the Presidio of San Francisco with his wife and two cats. His sports career was short but spectacular - he enjoyed a position as the starting pianist of the San Francisco 49ers, performing in the stadium club restaurant in Candlestick Park from 2010 until the stadium was demolished a few years later.

James Jaffe

Cellist James Jaffe has a special love for chamber music. He has performed at the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute in Manhattan, in Switzerland and France on concert tours, at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, at dive bars in Canada, on top of Aspen Mountain, and once for stranded traffic during a January mudslide on Highway 299. His chamber music performances have been streamed live from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and broadcast on Cleveland’s WCLV 104.9, Virginia’s WVTF 89.1, and San Francisco’s KDFC 90.3. He has also performed over 120 Groupmuses to date, including a sold-out performance of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden at San Francisco’s first Massivemuse.

Recognizing the immediate need for musical connections during the pandemic, James participated in quarantine-era projects with many longtime friends and collaborators: livestreams with the Sierra Quartet, violinist Mélanie Clapiès, and visual artist Peggy Gyulai; hybrid events with Classical Revolution and the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival; live outdoor performances with Concerts in the Park; and new video projects with One Found Sound.

Aside from his role as performer, James serves as Artistic Director of Festival Rolland, a summer chamber music festival in Burgundy, France. He has also taught chamber music at the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute, the Crowden School, and Baldwin Wallace University.

James spent summers studying at the Aspen Music Festival, [email protected], and the Banff Centre. His chamber music mentors include members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Tokyo, Vermeer, Emerson, Brentano, and Kronos quartets.

Daniel Colalillo

Stephanie Ray

Stephanie Ray is a creative entrepreneur, flutist, and curator of musical projects based in Baltimore City. Stephanie is a founding member of Pique Collective, an experimental quintet that explores original compositions, improvisation, and modern performance practices through unique collaborations and integrations with local makers, spaces, and artists. She is a core member of Baltimore’s musical arts cooperative and modular chamber orchestra, Mind on Fire, through which she has shared the stage with local artists such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Dan Deacon, Jamal Moore, Liz Downing, and Infinity Knives.
Stephanie is the co-founder, co-owner, and CEO of Baltimore Music Box, LLC; a digital audio workspace and music equipment lending library in the new Center for Community, Arts, Education, and Training, Baltimore Unity Hall. Since 2011, Stephanie has co-directed hundreds of free concerts with the Baltimore chapter of Classical Revolution including featured shows on WTMD Radio, and collaborating with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Alash Ensemble, Baltimore Boom Bap Society, Shodekeh, Eze Jackson, Jasmine Pope, Outcalls, and many other independent artists throughout the city. In 2021, Stephanie began co-organizing a free summer concert series in her community and surrounding neighborhoods called Arts in the Parks, featuring local performing groups in public spaces that have been traditionally redlined.
Stephanie enjoys a busy freelance schedule, regularly performing with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, National Cathedral Choral Society, Post Classical Ensemble, and the Maryland Lyric Opera. As a recording artist, she has worked with artists Dan Deacon, Loris, Bobby Ge, Ledah Finck, Tim Holt, and Brittany J. Green, and has recorded video game projects with Oxide Games. Stephanie holds degrees in flute performance from the University of Texas at Austin and Peabody Conservatory. Outside of musical life, Stephanie enjoys traveling, playing video games (Genshin Impact!), and being an active board member of her community association.

Sam Post

Equally at home composing for orchestra, playing Bach at the piano, or crossing over into pop, Sam Post is forging a career across styles and between genres. The Washington Post has praised his abilities at the piano ("confident, sensitive...a pianist with drive and intelligence"), the Bay Area Reporter lauded his chamber symphony ("Post has created a breathtaking musical joy ride"), and luminaries such as Renée Fleming have commended his overall musicianship (“incredibly gifted”).
In 2016 Sam subbed as an accompanist to Yo-Yo Ma and Renee Fleming at the Kennedy Center. After hearing Sam play one of his own compositions in their rehearsal, Ma promptly recommended him to Michael Tilson Thomas at the San Francisco Symphony for a string quartet commission on Kazakh folk themes by late dombra player Karshyga Akhmedyarov, whose daughter Raushan plays in the symphony. After the premiere of the resulting “Sketches from Kazakhstan,” the Symphony again commissioned him to turn it into a chamber symphony for their SoundBox concert series in December 2017. Baltimore Chamber Orchestra gave the East Coast premiere in February 2022.
Sam has composed hundreds of pieces for solo piano and various chamber configurations. He is the only five-time prizewinner in the history of the Fidelio Composition Competition for piano, out of more than 1000 participants from over 30 countries. He won the 2021 and 2022 World Championship Old-Time Piano "New Rag" Competitions with Lighthouse Rag and Angels' Watch Rag-Waltz. Sam’s 2017 solo album “Dizzy Days” made W. Royal Stokes’ notable jazz releases that year, and was featured on the cover of the Syncopated Times. Sam is the recipient of multiple Levine faculty grants, an Emergent Seed grant, commissions from the San Francisco Symphony and Palisades Virtuosi. He won the 2014 Wonderlic Piano Competition, the 2017 and 2018 Misbin Memorial Chamber Music Competitions, and Honorable Mention at the 2013 Heida Hermanns International Competition, in all cases playing his own original compositions. He is a founding member of Kassia Music, ensemble-in-residence at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda, Maryland, is on the faculty at Levine Music in the DC area, and is a proud musician-owner and council member at Groupmuse. Find him at sampostpiano.com.

Meriette Saglie

American-Chilean pianist Meriette Saglie, is a prize-winning solo and chamber musician. Meriette is the Founder and Artistic Director of WineMusic in Los Angeles, California, an immersive concert and wine tasting series offering a journey for the senses through the forces of both the musical and culinary arts. As an active performer in her home base city of Los Angeles, Ms. Saglie commits herself to the organization of the intimate concert-going scene in Los Angeles through her involvement with Groupmuse and also contributes to LA's cultural community by performing for concert events hosted by and in benefit of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Meriette is also a dedicated educator, running a private-owned piano teaching studio in the Los Angeles area and guest lecturing for Tonebase Live's piano community.
Dr. Saglie has performed on stages worldwide, including the United States, Chile, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and Japan. Her accomplishments include performances at the LACMA Bing Theater in Los Angeles, California, Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria, and at The National Austrian Radio: ORF (Vienna, Austria) where she was invited to take part in a live broadcast performance and symposium with famed pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Meriette Saglie attended the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts with distinction. Prior to this, Meriette benefited from a unique and globally-enriched musical upbringing. The Los Angeles native began her musical studies at the age of 4. At age 13, she branched out internationally, with admission to the prestigious pre-college program of the University of Music in Vienna, Austria and, subsequently, the Music Conservatory of the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. Because of her international background, she offers a versatile and well-rounded array of perspectives on both her musical and entrepreneurial vocational commitments.

Melanie Chirignan

Melanie Chirignan is a flautist known for her musicality and versatility of repertoire. Her eclectic tastes have led Melanie to collaborate with many different performers and ensembles. As an orchestral player, she has performed with: New York Chamber Players Orchestra, Albany Pro Musica, Octavo Chamber Orchestra, Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, Garden State Philharmonic, the Chelsea Symphony, Gateway Classical Music Society, S.E.M. Ensemble, and Hartt Independent Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Melanie has performed with Quintocracy, Stringwynde, jazz bass legend, Nat Reeves, traditional Irish harpist Hailey Hewitt, Philadelphia Fife and Drum Corps, guitarist Oren Fader, and the Alturas Duo. She has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, Opera America, the DiMenna Center, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Tenri Cultural Center, for Composer's Voice Concert Series, Cornelia St. Cafe, the Connecticut Guitar Society, at many public library concert series’ including Troy, the Windsor Historical Society, the New Britain Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Windsor Art Center, and the Wadsworth Museum of Art, Proctors, among others. As a soloist, Melanie has been featured with the Chelsea Symphony, performing "Poem" by Charles Griffes.
Melanie believes strongly in being innovative and collaborative with music and has worked closely with many composers and has premiered new works including: Alex Ford's "Berus in the Woods" in collaboration with Electric City Puppets (thanks to a grant from the Schenectady Community Arts Council), Ralph Raymond Hays music to the story "Keller's Heart" by John Gray and illustrated by Shanon Obelenus, used by permission of paraclete press (thanks to a grant from the Schenectady Community Arts Council), Nolan Stolz (Princess Ka'iulani, released on SCI/ Parma Recordings), Masatora Goya, Sean Pallatroni, Kary Contreras Galindo, and made the world premiere recording of the Delian Suite, from a body of international composers in the Delian Society. She has recorded several works for Masatora Goya's album, Dream Of Sailing, available on ITunes and Amazon. She also recorded "Latinos Ni de Aqui Ni de Alla" on the Latin Heartbeat Orchestra album, El Regreso. She is currently recording an album of flute and guitar music by all women composers with guitarist Scott Hill. She is about to premier music to the silent film Nosferatu by Sina Kiai (thanks to the Saratoga Community Arts Grant). In December, Quintocracy will present the music of Women Composer's on the Lift Series at TSBMH thanks to a New York Women Composer's Seed Money Grant.
Originally from Hauppauge, NY, Melanie Chirignan earned her bachelor’s in Music Performance and Music Education graduating magna cum laude from SUNY Fredonia and her master’s degree in Flute Performance at the Hartt School. She has taught general music, chorus, and orchestra, and has taught every level from elementary school to conservatory level students and was adjunct faculty at the College of Saint Rose. With Alturas Duo, Melanie has taught workshops on the "Origins of South American Folk Music" through Hartford Performs. She is currently freelancing and teaching privately. Members of Quintocracy are artists in residence at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Quintocracy offers workshops for schools through BOCES.

Dara Hankins

Dara Hankins is a bold, innovative artist with a social conscience. She believes in promoting equity through music and is an advocate for social justice. She has performed nationally and internationally with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Kirk Whalum Lalah Hathaway and many others. Dara is active as an orchestral musician, soloist, chamber musician, and teaching artist. She welcomes collaboration with artists from diverse disciplines.

Ms. Hankins earned her Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. She went on to earn her Master of Music degree from Manhattan School Of Music in New York City.

Dara currently resides in New York City.

Staff emcees

These amazing people facilitated our virtual events during the pandemic.

Lily Press

Los Angeles, CA

Alfredo Colon

New York, NY

Eric Silberger

New York, NY

James Jaffe

San Francisco, CA

Joey Chang

New York, NY

Dara Hankins

New York, NY

Simon Linn-Gerstein

Los Angeles, CA

Mann-Wen Lo

Los Angeles, CA

Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim

New York, NY



Special Thanks

Emily Chiappinelli

Creator of the Massivemuse

Mike Gallagher

Special Adviser, New York City


Additional Thanks

  • Ben Miller
  • Emma Lynn
  • Ari Borensztein
  • Sebastian Bäverstam
  • Cristian Budu
  • Yannick Rafalimanana
  • Nicolas Hugon
  • Brian Dixon
  • Alex Hugon

Groupmuse would not have been possible without the help of these generous folks.







The painting that appears around the website is of Franz Schubert, one of the great artistic geniuses in human history, sitting at the piano, surrounded by human warmth. In the early 19th century, Schubert's friends, supporters and fans would gather in Viennese homes and listen to him and other musicians perform his compositions, interspersed with sounds of laughter, excited conversation, and glasses clinking and being refilled. Seem familiar?

This tremendous masterpiece was painted by Gustav Klimt, a great Viennese artistic genius of a century later. And here we are, a century after Klimt's Schubert at the Piano, keeping alive the vision of these two heroes of culture.