For Debussy’s birthday today, August 22, I performed Syrinx outside during the solar eclipse yesterday. In Philadelphia the eclipse was partial, and while I played Syrinx the moon passed in front of the sun, darkening the mid-afternoon. As I played the music of Debussy during this awe-inspiring phenomenon I thought of tuning myself to the music of the spheres.
This will be a particularly rich season of Debussy, as our Dolce Suono Ensemble will be marking the centennial of his death with a festival of performances in March and April 2018.
Today is the 154th birthday of Claude Debussy, and I wish him a bon anniversaire with a special edition of Syrinx Journey. I enlisted the Marquis de Lafayette to join me in the felicitation as I performed Syrinx at the statue of Lafayette by Raoul Josset at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This rendition of Syrinx unites two projects I am passionate about: “Syrinx Journey” and “Music in the Second Capital,” which my Dolce Suono Ensemble will debut this season. “Music in the Second Capital” is an exploration of musical life in late colonial and early republic Philadelphia, when it was the second capital of the United States and the cultural center of the new nation. We will perform music that the Founding Fathers listened to and in some cases played or composed.
The Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer, supported the cause of American independence and played a critical role in the birth of the United States. He fought heroically as a general in the American army and was a close friend of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. Lafayette returned to France, where he applied his experience in America to his service during the French Revolution and throughout his illustrious life, earning the nickname “Hero of Two Worlds.”
Below you can read DSE Artistic Director, Mimi Stillman’s article in Flutist Quarterly in memoriam Steven Stucky, DSE commissioned composer. This year’s Dolce Suono Ensemble Young Composers Competition is held in memory of Steven Stucky.
Mimi’s recording “Freedom” with Charles Abramovic, piano and premieres by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, David Finko, and Richard Danielpour (with Yumi Kendall, cello, in the Danielpour) continues to receive fantastic reviews.
Among the recent accolades for the album and Dolce Suono Ensemble:
Interview and Review of “Freedom” and Dolce Suono Ensemble in the Huffington Post by Lew Whittington
“Stillman and Abramovic, the core players of DSE, have been performing together for 14 years, their stellar artistic clarity and chemistry is palpable onstage and is vividly captured on their recent recording “Freedom” (recorded in Gould Hall) a collection of flute and piano pieces.”
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Steven Stucky, my dear friend, colleague, mentor. My Dolce Suono Ensemble musicians and I worked closely with him on his commissioned piece for “Mahler 100 / Schoenberg 60” and other projects. Steve gave us so much more than his musical genius and towering intellect – his generosity of spirit, humor, humility, and all-encompassing love for music. The things I learned from my discussions with Steve, about music and his beloved literature and poetry, are without number. Yet he wore his many laurels gracefully, always rolling up his sleeves to help the performers (like the time he saved the day helping us put together a stubborn vibraphone right before a concert!). I miss him already, and he will always be a beacon of light and inspiration for me and all the many people whose lives he touched.