I played Syrinx for Debussy’s birthday while at the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, onstage between rehearsals at the University of Rhode Island. I was delighted to return to the festival and honored to be a part of its 30th anniversary celebration this summer. It was exciting to perform the premiere of David Ludwig’s Paganiniana with a wonderful group led by Jasmine Lin, solo violin, Ricardo Morales, clarinet, Noah Geller, violin, Efe Baltacigil, cello, Natalie Zhu, piano and KCMF Artistic Director, and Mari Yoshinaga, percussion. It was like a Curtis reunion with several of my classmates – we had lots of fun!
This year was a special one for my relationship with Debussy’s music, as my Dolce Suono Ensemble presented our “Claude Debussy Centennial Festival” marking the centennial of the great composer’s death in 1918. The two concerts are being broadcast on WWFM The Classical Network on August 21 and 23 in celebration of Debussy’s birthday.
It was a pleasure playing Syrinx surrounded by these beautiful bouquets I received for my birthday. As I played, I looked at individual flowers and felt I was responding to the profusion of colors and textures.
I performed Syrinx after viewing the spectacular Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect exhibit in preparation for Dolce Suono Trio’s performance at the Brandywine River Museum on September 9. Here I was playing on the bank of the Brandywine River outside the museum.
Our program will include music by Dvořák, Debussy, Sibelius, Gaubert, Bernstein, Andrea Clearfield, and Jennifer Higdon’s American Canvas for Flute, Cello, and Piano, a DSE-commissioned work with each of three movements devoted to a great American painter: O’Keeffe, Pollock, and Wyeth.
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.”
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Feeling grateful for all the good things, including beautiful music.
I performed “Syrinx” while perusing the exhibition right before giving a recital with guitarist Gideon Whitehead at Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania. It was part of my Dolce Suono Ensemble’s series of co-presented concerts with the gallery.
Our program explored the themes of Paris in the second empire and travel, with works by Verdi/Genin, Donjon, Paganini, Bosch, Dyens, Robert Maggio, and Lowell Liebermann.