Art of Élan is a chamber music organization presenting and producing chamber music concerts in what they call "artistically stimulating and invigorating environment."
Created by Demarre McGill (principal flutist for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra) and Kate Hatmaker (a violinist with the San Diego Symphony), Art of Élan says it "Aims to expose new audiences to classical music, explore (and expand) the horizons of the classical music scene, energize audiences and musicians alike, and ultimately educate and cultivate a future generation of classical music lovers."
The concert “experience,” as Art of Élan envisions it, is to be approximately one hour in length, without intermission, in order to keep audience members both engaged and focused on the music. Programs vary, and musicians change, but the group insists "the excitement of classical music will be evident in every Art of Élan concert."
Other ensemble members include cellist Yao Zhao, violinists Jessica Guideri and Pei-Chun Tsai, and violist Chi-Yuan Chen.
In 2012, they began collaborating with local folk group the Tree Ring for a performance piece called Americana, composed by Jonathan Holland.
2021 saw the release of a 10-minute video collaboration with New York-based orchestra The Knights was filmed in Joshua Tree that combines music, dance, and architecture, as well as arts organizations on two coasts. The performance, entitled "Bits and Pieces," was inspired by American composer Lou Harrison's Concerto for Pipa, which was originally written for Wu Man in 1997. The two-day shoot was filmed safely at Joshua Tree's architecturally significant Harrison House and in a wooded backyard in Hillcrest. The finished video features a choreographed performance with string quintet, dancer Maile Okamura, and pipa virtuoso Wu Man, in his first in-person collaboration with other musicians since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The pinnacle was performing on the idyllic grounds of my late friend Lou Harrison's home in Joshua Tree," says Wu Man. "Lou was ahead of his time, and understood the unique beauty in combining multicultural influences to create a global sound. His music, in particular, is very special to me and holds many fond memories." Originally planned as a virtual collaboration, Maile Okamura and her husband, Knights artistic director Colin Jacobsen, decided to work together in-person in their current hometown of San Diego, along with Knights cellist Alex Greenbaum. Art of Elan artistic director Kate Hatmaker (Greenbaum's wife) joined the collaboration alongside Elan musicians Travis Maril (viola) and Jeremy Kurtz-Harris (bass).