heart of darkness

It’s been quite a week. I’ve been spending the last three nights playing Georg Haas’ Third String Quartet “In Darkness”, which as you might expect, is actually performed in a completely darkened concert venue. In this case the venue was the hemispherical Kendall Planetarium at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

I was terrified at the prospect of playing this piece when it was first pitched to me by Third Angle artistic director and violinist Ron Blessinger. I’m not a musician who is suited to memorizing material, and given that this piece was to be played in complete darkness, memorization was a given. But I overcame my initial resistance and took the plunge. I am so glad that I did. Playing this piece has been one of the musical highlights of my career thus far. The opening of my sense of hearing just by virtue of the lack of visual cues, and the need to discern harmonies and find my place in them without having the voicing worked out beforehand, was exhilarating. Embracing the improvised aspects of the piece, and savoring the extraordinary receptiveness of our audiences, was incredibly rewarding. It was in many ways all that I hoped that a musical experience could be, and by and large, our audiences and critics agreed.

Here are the five (!) reviews of the run that we’ve received so far – and if you ever get a chance to hear this piece within a three hour drive of where you live: take it. You won’t regret the experience.

third angle in china/tibet

Third Angle New Music Ensemble String Quartet

Portland’s Third Angle New Music Ensemble was recently in China and Tibet, and Artistic Director Ron Blessinger (and some guest bloggers) wrote vividly about their experiences in Nanchang, Beijing, and Tibet. You can read about this exciting trans-oceanic trip at the Third Angle’s blog:

  1. Third Angle goes to China.
  2. Collaborations.
  3. Nanchang.
  4. Nanchang II.
  5. Beijing – second impressions on a first day back.
  6. Long Song & Zajia.
  7. Beijing Modern Music Festival.
  8. Greg Ewer: wall climber.
  9. Chengdu & train to Lhasa.

twenty-five years of third angle

On March 11th, 2011, Third Angle Ensemble celebrates its 25th anniversary with Reich-analia, a concert of classics by the modern master, Steve Reich, in the spectacular Atrium at Montgomery Park. The concert begins at 8:00 pm.

With advance purchase tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for age 65 and older and $10 for students.
At the door tickets are $35 for general admission, $30 for age 65 and older and $10 for students.

The program will include Violin Phase (1967), New York Counterpoint (1985) and Drumming (1970-1971).

A pre-concert dinner will take place in the banquet room at Montgomery Park, beginning at 6:00 pm. Tickets for the dinner are $100 and for the dinner and concert are $125. Information on both the dinner and concert can be found on the Third Angle website: thirdangle.org.

Program notes, video clips, and recordings are also posted on the Third Angle blog: thirdangle.org/blog.

Steve Reich - Artist: Georgia Erdenberger