How a 74 year-old and a millennial are connecting society by reinventing a Victorian concept

Bringing people together through unique cultural experiences one living room at a time

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Pianist & magician Igor Lipinski at 'Polish Night': a half piano recital of compositions by Chopin-half magic show, with Polish dessert pairing.

In the fast-paced digital age we live in, where convenience is only a swipe or a tap away, The Q is reviving one quintessential aspect of our lives: intimacy in human connectivity through cultural experiences.

The Quintessential (The Q) is a creative organization that hosts and curates intimate concert events. These events feature and support artists of various genres while providing society a platform to explore diversity in musical culture and highlight social issues. A concept that dates back to the 17th century, The Q refreshes the format of salon gatherings with modern twists by combing film, literature, magic, visual art, multimedia, food pairing, and even fragrance testing with music being the centerpiece, all in an up-close setting.

A millennial and an elderly might not sound like your usual co-founder pairing, but sometimes serendipity forges inseparable bonds. CheHo Lam moved to the U.S. eight years ago from his hometown of Hong Kong, where he started learning the violin at age six. Music has brought him to stages such as Carnegie Hall, The United Nations Headquarters, and the Capitol Building with an opportunity to perform at President Obama’s second Inaugural Luncheon in 2013 in Washington D.C. It wasn’t until he moved to New York City where CheHo met his friend and late mentor Dr. Tony Zito (1941-2016), he realized he could do much more to create a lasting social impact.

Honorary founder Dr. Tony Zito (1941-2016)

A retired psychiatrist, documentary producer, art and music aficionado, and people lover, Tony Zito was a generous, selfless soul, who would always have way too much food on the table when welcoming guests. After the release of the documentary of which he was executive producer, Seymour: an introduction, Tony invited CheHo to give a house concert, followed by a screening of the film. It was unlike any other stages that CheHo had performed at: in a living room with 40+ seats, performers breaking the traditional concert hall routine with small introductory speeches to guide the flow of the program, musical repertoire being paired with the film, people interacting with genuine exchange of ideas, and most importantly creating a dialogue between the performers and the listeners where everyone in the audience had a chance to interact with the artists. The energy in the room was palpable.

Ethan Hawke, actor, director & trustee of The Q at an opening event

Enraptured by the experience and the positive feedback from audience members, the two began to host regular salon events out of Tony’s apartment (fittingly numbered Q), the very place where the film’s director Ethan Hawke met Seymour Bernstein, subject of the film.

The Q has since been invited by hosts, corporate brands, film festivals, and The United Nations for performances and events taking place all across New York. The Q brings cultural elements to create customized concepts, helping elevate audience and customer experiences in its entirety.

The Q is a creative organization that brings people together through intimate cultural experiences.

We don’t think classical music or any art form need to be saved; we believe in representing works at their highest quality by honoring their creators, as well as presenting them in an innovative and relevant manner. As artists, it is our role to reach human beings, to convey emotional ideas, existential, intangible ideas, and make people feel better about being alive in today’s society.

An initiative described by Tony as “an endeavor and testimonial of love”, The Q strives to spread his message and carry on his legacy through this community endeavor by being a part of the way he saw the world.

Bring a friend, enjoy the experience and be amused by fellow art and cultural connoisseurs in town. You don’t need a backstage pass to get to know the artists.

CheHo and Dr. Tony Zito

“You could tell the world class artist, literally within arm’s reach, were enjoying the moment as much as we did. It wasn’t just another show or concert in town; it was an awe-inspiring interactive experience.”

Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive & Vilray at Back In The Swing of Things: a tribute to blues and swing music from the Tin Pan Alley era. Click to see their performance highlight

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