I was in Ottawa on March 13 to coach the violists and chamber music students of the University of Ottawa’s School of Music. It was great fun, I learned and was inspired by the students, the sense of the community was heartwarming, I got to see some old friends, and last but not least, I had lots of poutine!
I have been dreaming of starting a group with my friends and I for years now. We started off by getting together to read symphonic works in an informal atmosphere, and the energy and enthusiasm we found were unique and memorable. At first I was doing this to practice conducting, but it quickly became obvious this was about a lot more than that for all of us – it was and is about friendship, sharing, music. It’s been a few years and here we are, the time has come to bring our group to the audience. I have taken the liberty of drafting the following manifesto:
“Music for the People is an ensemble, flexible in size, which performs symphonic and chamber music written from 1600 onward. We believe that classical music is for everyone, and that its depth and beauty can be enjoyed by all, regardless of previous experience and exposure. We want to be a laboratory for how art music would be experienced and performed had it only been discovered in the 21st century and we had the task of introducing it to today’s world, without preconceived notions from anyone.
If you want to purchase your copy of my solo album, I am ecstatic to announce that the wait is finally over! The CD, published by Delos Music, is now available for purchase or download worldwide – on Amazon, iTunes, Tidal, and other purveyors of fine music. Buy yours now! I am also planning a CD release party in a few months, in New York and elsewhere; I will keep you posted.
I will be joining hundreds of other violists from all over the United States and the world at the American Viola Society Festival 2016, subtitled “Exploring New Pathways”. This exciting event – exciting even for non-violists! – is taking place in Oberlin, OH from June 8 to 11. There are special guests such as Kim Kashkashian, Robert Vernon and Elmar Oliveira, as well as recitals, masterclasses, vendor exhibits and all kinds of viola-related presentations. Come nerd out with us! My lecture of Aram Khatchaturian’s Sonata-Song for Solo Viola takes place on June 9 at 3:30pm at Kulas Recital Hall at the Oberlin College & Conservatory campus. See you there!
I can finally announce what many of you have asked about – yes, the solo viola CD is ready, and it will be released in mid-2016! I am very excited for my debut project to be issued by Delos, one of America’s most respected and well-known independent record labels. We’ve been in talks for some time now and the details are being ironed out. All I can say is, it’s been a long time coming, but it will be worth the wait! Stay tuned.
I again had the honor to adjudicate the Viola Concerto Competition at Juilliard this school year, alongside colleagues from the Shanghai String Quartet and NYU. I got to hear four finalists, each performing Krzysztof Penderecki’s Viola Concerto. Caeli Smith deservedly won – go hear her play tonight at Alice Tully with the Juilliard Orchestra! 7:30pm.