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Talking About a Revolution

posted by in Dot Dot Dot

In early 2000s, while on vacation in Europe, my rental car didn’t have a CD player and I refused to be hijacked by European radio as my sole music source for the road trip. I ended up going into a music store and the only cassette they had that I could bear to listen to over and over again was Tears for Fears’ Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92). The music of that tape became the soundtrack of that trip and thus, a unique memory while looking out at the idyllic Provencal countryside and beyond.

Fast forward to present day. Not having a CD player wouldn’t be an issue now as most of us play music digitally through our iPods or iPhones equipped with music services like Spotify. Today, with the advent of a globalized music scene, I’m finding it harder and harder to find unique experiences that give me memories of the city I am visiting. No matter where you are in the world, when you walk into a local bar there’s a likelihood of one of several kinds of music playing: local pop, top 40 international hits, rock or God forbid, EDM.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I made plans to have dinner with an old friend Lori, a prolific writer and kindred spirit who recently moved to the city from Los Angeles. She asked what I was interested in – a walking tour, dinner and chamber music or adult night at a museum. I opted for dinner and chamber music so that we could talk at leisure (and eat) and listen to some wonderful music afterward.

After dinner, I expected our group to go to your typical music hall for a bit of classical music but was surprised to find us a couple blocks away to a street bar where an impromptu group of musicians set up shop and the sweet melodies of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms were wafting out the door.

Mozart piano trio in B♭, K 502. Photo: Marco Rozzano

Mozart piano trio in B♭, K 502. Photo by Marco Rozzano

Founded by violist Charith Premawardhana, Classical Revolution is a group of musicians who are dedicated to performing high-quality chamber music in non-traditional settings, such as Revolution Café, where Lori took me that evening. Classical Revolution started here in November 2006 and has since grown to over 30 chapters across the US, Canada and even Europe. Classical Revolution’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other leading media publications. Classical Revolution is fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.

At The Curly Wolf Espresso House, Nevada City

At The Curly Wolf Espresso House, Nevada City. Photo by Erin Thiem/ Outside Inn

With a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc in my hand, I settled myself amongst the other music lovers and began to thoroughly enjoy the flutes, violins and cellos that blended together into one beautiful classical piece after another. With only their reading light to guide them through their notes, each musician was completely absorbed in his or her music and to see them perform in this unconventional, impromptu setting made the experience even more special.

Awaken Cafe enjoys Shostakovich string quartet 1 in C, op 49

Awaken Cafe enjoys Shostakovich string quartet 1 in C, op 49. Photo by Marco Rozzano

That’s the beauty of San Francisco – it’s a city that blends the old with the new, constantly recreating and restoring, somewhere one can enjoy brilliant classical music – for free – even on a quiet Monday night in the neighborhood bar. Kudos to Classical Revolution! To know about the organization and for tour dates visit

A little night music with friends at Revolution Cafe

A little night music with friends at Revolution Cafe

May all your gypsetting dreams come true,


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The Author

"For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome.” - Alex Garland


We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

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