Happy March! Spring is nigh, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is impatient for it to arrive! It’s such a wonderful season because everything begins anew, and it is a chance to gain fresh optimism for the future, thus inspiring new ideas and plans for the coming months. Madalyn and I have many new and exciting things to look forward to, such as the completion of our third CD, which is comprised entirely of NEW MUSIC.
I have been playing new music aplenty as of late, and my exploits in this uncharted territory have led to fantastic discoveries and experiences, and profound learning. Most recently I performed two super pieces for solo cello, both written by students here at the Jacobs School of Music. The first, a real gem, is entitled “Garshira,” or “Early Evening,” by Gavin Duffy. It is based loosely on Indian ragas, and the added element of amplification makes it fun to both play and listen to! The fabulous colors and ideas, and the variation thereof, that Gavin created are so engaging and exciting. I have had the great pleasure of performing it twice, and I look forward to presenting it many more times!
The second is called “G1, Torbenite,” by Aaron Stepp. This piece was a joy to work on because it has a fabulous progression with a strong sense of direction, creating a solid cohesion while simultaneously having a strong emotional impact. Kudos, Aaron!
In addition, Madalyn and I are both enjoying immensely participating in the New Music Ensemble at JSoM. Our conductor is David Dzubay, who is chair of the composition department and was just awarded a 2011
of Arts and Letters Award in Music. Playing in the New Music Ensemble and working with Dr. Dzubay has been a tremendous learning experience. Many composers have traveled great distances to attend our rehearsals and performances of their pieces, so we have had the great pleasure of meeting and working with Joel Feigin, Louis Karchin, Philippe Hersant, and Bernard Rands, to name a few. American Academy
Back to our CD. It has sprouted another limb (!) in the form of “Three Semblances,” a duo written for us by Gabriel Gutierréz, another superb JSoM composition student. Gabe approached us sometime last semester about composing a piece for us. Of course we were delighted with the prospect, and then the end result! We love its unique style, with its inventiveness in texture and color, and the different influences which each movement reflects. Truly masterful!
You may have heard some of the many stories of great composers, such as Bartok, Barber, and Shostakovich, whose music was deemed “unplayable” and sometimes shelved for years. What a shame! Playing new music is such a joy for me because I feel that I am participating in and making a contribution to the future of classical music. How can one argue with that?