This past Wednesday night, my two CDs of Ralph Shapey’s violin music were featured on KKFI, Kansas City radio. Host Michael Pettengell recorded his interview with me by phone about a week ago, and the interview was played in full on Wednesday’s show along with some Shapey works. I’m always really delighted to have the chance to talk about this music, about which I feel strongly. There is no podcast or archived recording, but I am being sent a CD of the interview and will try to put it up on this website for you ASAP. Next week at the same time (May 18, 8-10pm Central), Mike’s show will again feature music from my Shapey recordings, and also from my CD of Donald Martino’s recital works.
Coming up: two ensembles, each with two concerts. Azure Ensemble is playing on Sunday, May 15, 7:30 at the Thalia Theater. www.symphonyspace.org
We will play a terrific trio called “Dancing Helix Rituals” by Augusta Read Thomas. This is the first piece of hers that I have played and I’m enjoying its brilliant sonorities, bold rhythmic vitality, and angular, jazzy feel. Check her website bio page for her interesting thoughts on jazz. We also play another fun, jazz-influenced work by another prominent American composer: “Slang” by Libby Larsen.
I am playing a striking work for solo violin and electronics by Cuban-born composer Ileana Perez-Velasquez, called “un ser con unas alas enormes”, or “a being with enormous wings”. As you might imagine from this title, the piece is quite ominous-sounding at times, with growling outbursts and abrasive noises in the electronics, but also passages of cantabile warmth and quiet melancholy. Ileana’s descriptions in the score evoke a natural world of insects, birds, water.
I’m playing on this concert with pianist Christopher Oldfather, with whom I first played on one of my doctoral recitals at Juilliard. We played Elliott Carter’s very serious and complex Duo, which he recorded with Robert Mann. Here we play with clarinetist Erin Svoboda, and Azure’s director, flutist Susan Glaser, who joins Chris and Erin in works by Guillaume Connesson and Agatha Kaspryzk.
Susan tends to tip the ratio of men:women composers on her programs much in favor of the women. Lately I’ve gotten to know so many young female composers, most of them very busy, that it doesn’t occur to me to think about any discriminatory bias. But it is important to make sure that women are getting their due for their intelligence, imagination and hard work, so it’s great that people make a point of presenting women’s works. On June 5, Azure plays another concert, including works by Beata Moon, Jocelyn Morlock, Gabriela Ortiz, Libby Larsen, and Béla Bartók’s “Contrasts”.
My group counter)induction has two very interesting concerts soon. On Friday May 20, we are playing a program called “Displacer” at Tenri Institute. www.counterinduction.com
A few of the pieces utilize recently-developed audio spatialization software from VRSonic. The gear is being transported the day before from Washington, DC, for this event. Looking forward to work out the spatialized effects at Tenri. We played a couple of these pieces last year at the International Conference for Auditory Display: c)i composer Douglas Boyce’s “Displacements 1b” for cl/vln/vcl, which uses Doug’s frequent blend of quasi-aleatoric writing along with more rhythmically tight textures; and Jorge Garcia del Valle Mendez’s “road, river and rail”. We also present intriguing works by Finnish composer Jukka Tiensuu and UCSD faculty Katharina Rosenberger.
C)i composer Kyle Bartlett has just written me a dramatic new piece for solo violin and electronics called “Tombeau. Tattoo. Tether.” It is based on memories of her grandmother and incorporates aural images of things or activities that Kyle associates with her, along with some very vivid effects on the violin. I am looking forward to premiere it on May 20!
Counter)induction also performs a concert at Bargemusic on June 3: www.bargemusic.org
A great group of composers, for whom we share great enthusiasm! We perform arrangements by Charles Wuorinen of music of the Renaissance, Milton Babbitt’s “Triad” and Doug Boyce’s Piano Quartet. Also Mario Davidovsky’s “Synchronisms No. 3” played by Sumire Kudo and a piano work by Kyle Bartlett played by Steve Beck. I will join Steve for Louis Karchin’s “Rhapsody for Violin and Piano”. I actually performed this piece of Lou’s before, in Juilliard’s “Focus” Festival. This is a newly revised version. It’s satisfying to return to recent compositions, to feel that you are a part of integrating works into the circulating repertoire, while also being excited and curious about the new and just-created.