I’m excited to present to you an intriguing and varied repertoire, of new music from the Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic and the Cuban guitar virtuoso and composer Leo Brouwer, whose solo viola sonata gets its world premiere here! This on the platform known as Groupmuse, a social network for musicians which presents classical concerts in informal setting, and in these pandemic times, online.
Works by Shostakovich (music from the motion picture “The Gadfly“) and Prokofiev (from his ballet “Romeo and Juliet”), adapted for viola and piano, conclude the program. I am playing with the terrific pianist Miki Aoki.
Ana is a longtime friend who taught me harmony and counterpoint in high school back in Serbia, so we go way back, and she is now one of Canada’s most distinguished composers. I grew up listening to Leo Brouwer’s music, so his works and his guitar playing (my brother studied classical guitar when I was little) are close to my heart.
I wish to thank the team at Tarisio Fine Instruments in New York for their support in letting us use their performance space for rehearsals and this livestream. Absolutely indispensable in Covid times, when nearly all concert venues are closed.
To watch us live on November 23 at 3PM EST, click here!
I dreamt about Vinny, a long-time member of the Met’s viola section who passed away from coronavirus on April 4, last night. Many a rehearsal morning, I’d see him from a distance as we approached the Met’s Stage Door from opposite directions and wave at each other. He’d wear a parka and always have a hoodie on his head in cold weather. That heavy hoodie made him look like a little boy, which made it even easier to tell him apart. It’s funny how unique people’s gaits are, they’re like signatures. His walk was the first thing I saw in the dream and I immediately knew it was him. He was there wearing his hoodie and walking toward the Stage Door ahead of me. I yelled to say hello, I wanted to ask how he was, how come he was here with us again, but the words got stuck in my throat and all I could let out was a groan. He just smiled, waved as if nothing had happened, and kept walking. We were back at work, everything was good, you know? Sadly, we’ll have to wait to see each other again, a long while. I’ll miss you Vinny, you were truly legit.
We recorded this for the Met’s Gala Concert a few weeks after his passing. My fellow violists and I agreed on this piece, I did an arrangement of this aria for viola ensemble, our Music Director provided a track with conducting and Joyce Di Donato’s singing was added last. All we had to record our separate tracks at home was Yannick’s motions! It was not easy but here it is. Our hearts are all in this. I cannot watch this without tearing up.
Shostakovich: Music for the Film “The Gadfly”, arr. for Viola and Piano
Leo Brouwer: Sonata for Solo Viola (World Premiere)
Prokofiev: Four Pieces from the Ballet “Romeo and Juliet” for Viola and Piano
Ana Sokolovic: Toccata for Viola and Piano
I am stoked to be playing a recital and giving a masterclass, in collaboration with Christopher Guzman, piano. We’ll be playing works by J.S. Bach, Brahms and Schumann.