Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Music

Hello everyone,

After a thrilling first year at the Jacobs School which was immediately followed by a whirlwind, month-long Parnas/Kohlberg Trio tour in Europe and Israel, it is a relief to be in one place this summer! I often feel this time of year presents a conflict of objectives; for me it seems a special opportunity to rest and rejuvenate oneself following the endless, though invigorating, demands of the school year and concert season, but it can also be the ideal time to work intensively and accomplish many more things in preparation for the year ahead. Thanks to a quieter schedule, there is more time for me to broaden and manage my activities, so I have had the luxury of completing both objectives!

One of these projects which has served as an important musical focus for my summer has been continued preparation for recording sessions in the fall with Cicely; our exciting new music CD, “Present Tense” is going to be sensational! First of all, we have been doing some groovin'! One of our duos was written by Frank Bennett, a great composer/percussionist/veena player, and orchestrator/arranger for countless big-time Hollywood movies, including everything from The Wedding Planner to Predator to Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Well, his duo, Three Sketches for Violin and Cello, and the third movement in particular, features a rather jazzy and difficult-to-notate rhythm, which for classical string players like Cicely and me poses a bit of a challenge. So, we went to an expert for some advice. Lincoln Mayorga, our good friend and master of the bridge between classical and jazz approaches, got us thinking in terms of "feeling" a rhythm rather than calculating it, and after some chuckling and more than a few repetitions, I think we got it! A word of advice to all classical musicians who have not had the most robust instruction in their non-classical backgrounds: make friends with the jazz players!

As I may have touched upon in previous posts, one of the joys afforded by playing new music is the chance to work and communicate directly with the creator. Once again, this immensely edifying and enjoyable opportunity arose when we traveled to New York City last month to meet with the amazing Lera Auerbach, composer of Three Dances in the Old Style for violin and cello. This bewitching little suite of mischievous dances, so ostensibly simple and unassuming, is filled with the witty nuances of a personality amused by her own work, and it was incredibly entertaining and exciting to explore these intricacies together with Lera. Indeed, there can be no doubt that her entirely original and captivating musical fingerprint will be attracting some much –deserved attention on our track listing!

All for now; the return to Bloomington swiftly approaches and more musical adventures along with it! Stay tuned for more new music updates as we continue exploring the duos of living composers William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, Charles Wuorinen, Joel Feigin, and more.