I just passed my 72nd day of my physical therapy regimen, and my stamina on the instrument is increasing. I’m playing the first half of this week’s Mahler concert, and hope to be back full time the following week. It finally feels like I can safely look forward to what the rest of the season will bring, and what projects I might pursue on my own as well.
I’m in the process of looking at repertoire for a recital in the spring – I’m not sure when it will happen, it may end up being in June instead, but it’s good to have a goal to push one’s self to work toward. I’m looking at some old friends: Hindemith, Brahms, and Clarke. Some younger friends, too: Penderecki, Rochberg, Ott, Chang, Higdon, and Tower. And some more recent acquaintances that I need to learn and make friends with: Muhly, Ran, Nichols, Bunch, Watras, Garrop, and Gibson, among many, many others. It may be that this is the foundation for a yearly recital journey – who knows?
If you’re a composer who has written a piece for solo viola or for viola and piano, or viola, voice, and piano, please drop me a line (via the ‘contact me’ menu tab above) and alert me to your website and/or examples of your work, I’d love to see and hear it!
The past two evenings I performed on a Third Angle New Music studio series concert called “A Family Affair”. It was a concert centered around one of my colleagues in the ensemble (and in the Oregon Symphony), cellist Marilyn De Oliveira. Marilyn is quite a remarkable human being. She is one of the few people I know who is almost relentlessly positive in her outlook, regardless of what is happening both inside her life and in the outside world. She describes herself – somewhat ruefully – as a pollyanna. She is also, perhaps because of this worldview, a tremendous advocate for music to everyone. She, as she put it at a Q&A session last night, was brought up with the view that music has an incredible capacity to bring joy to every single person who encounters it. She is, quite honestly, a musical evangelical. And she’s one of those advocates who doesn’t tell you why music is good for you, she just, by her way of being and inhabiting the music, makes you also want to hear more, do more, maybe even learn more about music.
It’s so admirable, what Marilyn embodies. The audience at the concerts this week were also completely rapt in their attention to what Marilyn and her band of friends and family presented. It’s a rare thing, to be on the receiving end of that sort of audience focus. There really was a give and take that one always hopes for, but seldom gets in larger scale performances in the concert hall. For chamber musicians it’s more common to encounter, but these shows were at a level of interchange between audience and musicians that was way up in the 99th percentile. I’ll close by saying a heartfelt thank you to Marilyn for her musical kinship and friendship these past few years, and for inviting me to perform with her this week. It was a career highlight for me.
CAROLINE SHAW | limestone & felt (2012) JOHN TAVENER | Akhmatova Songs (1993) ANDY AKIHO | 21 (2009) SVANTE HENRYSON | Off Pist (1996) KENJI BUNCH | Adventure Awaits (2017) Commissioned with support from The Collins Foundation GIOVANNI SOLLIMA | Lamentatio (1998)
Performers: Marilyn de Oliveira, cello Edlyn de Oliveira, soprano Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello Charles Noble, viola Michael Roberts, percussion James Shields, clarinet
Violinist Shin-young Kwon, who is a member of the Oregon Symphony and also the Arnica and Mousai Remix string quartets (!), gives a recital tonight (Tuesday, January 29th) with pianist Yoko Greeney at Portland State University’s Lincoln Recital Hall (Room 75). The recital begins at 7:30 p.m., and is free of admission charge.
Arnold Schoenberg – ‘Phantasy’ Op. 47 (1949) for Violin and Piano Béla Bartók – ‘Tempo di Ciaccona’ from Sonata for Solo Violin, Sz. 117 J.S. Bach – ‘Ciaccona’ from Partita No 2, BWV 1004 in D minor for Solo Violin Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata No. 10, Op. 96 in G major for Violin and Piano