Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finally, my first post as a member of c)i!

It's so exciting on so many levels for me to be involved with the RW>>FFWD program.  I'm still getting my bearings in general as the newest member of the band, so the fact that the first c)i concert with which I'll be involved as an "official member" also happens to be the 10th anniversary concert is an honor and a thrill.  I've been lucky to work with c)i in various capacities over the past couple of years, first as a composer, then as an engineer and recordist, then as a curator for a new program (stay tuned for more!) and now as a part of the family.    I continue to be amazed by the abilities, energy, and intellect of everyone in the group, and I can only hope to contribute something to this already wonderful and singular ensemble.  

Of course, a part of my excitement in advance of Monday evening derives from Sumi's US premiere of my Partita for solo cello. I wrote it for her in 2007 for a premiere in Japan, and I still haven't heard the piece live myself.  Hearing the recording of the premiere, and especially listening to her play through it more recently, I am blown away by how easily and beautifully she brings the various strands of the piece to life, giving each voice in the work's dialogue its own distinctive character while maintaining the unity of the whole structure.   It's so rare as a composer to put a new piece in front of a performer and almost immediately hear back exactly what you had in mind.  I'm fortunate to have had such an experience with Sumi and Partita, and I can't thank her enough for it. Beyond this one piece, though, I really have Sumi to thank for introducing me to c)i and being such a strong advocate for my involvement.  

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Monday and throughout the upcoming c)i season! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


It is not often that I get another shot at performing a piece in the same town so soon - and at this moment, when logistical details of our big 10th Anniversary show are swirling around me, I am so very glad that I gave a preview of Douglas's piece last month at the New York Viola Society's collegial concert. It gives a chance for not only the performers, but the piece itself to get a rest in between and an opportunity for reflection and revision before being launched into sonic space again.

Rehearsals now are a bit different as well. Instead of wondering, "what do you have there? how does this fit together?", we are able to concentrate on more of the nuances and flow of the piece. However, since Doug did do a slew of little revisions that are not very obvious to the scanning eye at first, there were certainly a bunch of moments when Steve and I looked at each other and said "was this a 7/8 bar before?, what ARE you playing over there?".

It is also fascinating for me to see what my muscles remember a month later and to subtly train them to make these changes while simultaneously exploring how these new ideas effect the phrasing and pacing of this piece - and ultimately, how I feel when playing it. 30 days of just plain living has passed in that time, and just that alone can make a piece different...and hopefully better.