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.
In honor of Debussy’s birthday on August 22 I performed Syrinx on campus at the University of Virginia, where I’ve just been doing archival research in the music collection of Thomas Jefferson. He founded the university in 1819, planned the curriculum, and designed the core of its campus as an Academical Village, with Georgian and Neoclassical architecture balanced with green spaces.
It was fascinating to be able to handle scores which belonged to this great Founding Father and members of his family, in the planning process for future projects for me and my Dolce Suono Ensemble.
Joyeux anniversaire, Claude Debussy!
I’m here with the score of Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” trio.
It was fitting to perform Syrinx at the exhibition “A Sense of Place: Modern Japanese Print” at Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania. Among the artworks displayed were works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, artists who inspired Claude Debussy.
This concert, on May 14, 2015, was one of Dolce Suono Ensemble’s series at Arthur Ross Gallery, offered in conjunction with its exhibitions.
This afternoon I attended a performance by the Aizuri Quartet at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia as part of the Curtis Institute of Music’s collaboration with the Barnes. The event was offered in tandem with a wonderful exhibition of the art of William Glackens, the American painter and friend of Albert Barnes who selected artworks in Europe for the collection. The quartet premiered a new work, Parallels, by my friend the composer Alyssa Weinberg, which was her reflection on the work of Glackens. In this evocative piece, the four strings were layered upon each other like brushstrokes of differing intensity, with striking lyrical passages emerging from abstract textures. Then the Aizuri gave a beautiful performance of Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, movements II and IV. Written in 1893, the modernity of this music is still striking today, and made a great pairing with Alyssa’s new piece as well as a fitting companion to the art of Glackens. Debussy’s quartet fills me with joy, but I so wanted to get into the act that I had to add my Syrinx, which you hear now with the Debussy quartet at the same time (Emerson Quartet recording).
Today marks the birthday of Claude Debussy, born in 1862, and the first anniversary of the completion of my Syrinx Journey, my personal tribute to the great composer through daily video recordings of his masterwork for solo flute, Syrinx, with commentary on my blog.
To celebrate Debussy’s birthday this year while I was performing with Dolce Suono Ensemble in residence at the Lake George Music Festival in New York, I recorded Syrinx at The Sembrich, the museum dedicated to the golden age soprano Marcella Sembrich located in her former studio on the banks of Lake George. It was fitting that I should be there, for she was a contemporary of Debussy and his songs were part of her repertoire. Fascinating memorabilia of her dazzling career fills the museum, including autographs by Brahms, Verdi, Puccini, and Mark Twain.
A photograph of Debussy hangs in the studio.
With curator and composer Richard Wargo, who welcomed my parents and me most warmly and gave us a fascinating tour.
I recorded Syrinx in my dressing room at the Kimmel Center in between giving masterclasses as Yamaha Flute Clinician at the Youth Education in the Arts band festival in May. It was fun working with lots of talented high school musicians. Visit my Facebook page to see photos from this event!