Tag Archives: Israel

Day 6: Syrinx Journey on Kol HaMusica, Israeli Radio

I performed Debussy’s Syrinx live on Kol HaMusica, Israel’s classical radio station, as part of a show I did while in Jerusalem recently. It was not video recorded, but I will receive a CD which I will post soon. Host Zmira Lutzky invited me to be a guest on her show “Nuages, Fêtes, Sirènes,” which she named after the movements of Debussy’s Nocturnes. She devotes her program to new music and in addition to promoting new music in general and Israeli composers in particular, she is co-director of the Israel Contemporary Players, a new music ensemble based at the Jerusalem Music Centre. A pianist by training, Zmira studied with the great Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

The two-hour show I did included an interview, live performances, and the broadcast of selections from my most recent CD “Odyssey: 11 American Premieres for Flute and Piano,” a 2-CD set with my duo pianist Charles Abramovic on Innova Recordings, and airings of live performances of Dolce Suono Ensemble. I was impressed by Zmira’s comprehensive knowledge of new music and absolute command of English, because during the show she interviewed me in English, then gave Hebrew summaries for the listening audience. It was a delight spending time with this warm and gracious woman.

How fitting for me to perform Syrinx on this Debussy-titled show. Zmira always plays one movement of Nocturnes as a lead-in, and invited me to choose the movement. I selected “Fêtes.” Then she had me begin with Syrinx right afterwards. I also performed music by Astor Piazzolla, Tzvi Avni, and Shulamit Ran. The selections from “Odyssey” which were broadcast were by Richard Danielpour, David Ludwig, Benjamin C.S. Boyle, and Zhou Tian. Also aired: Nuit d’étoiles, a Debussy song I arranged, and a Brazilian choro from my first CD “MIMI,” and Dolce Suono Ensemble live performances of music by Telemann, Ravel, George Crumb, and Shulamit Ran. I love hearing Vox Balaenae / Voice of the Whale translated into Hebrew: Kol Ha Levyatan!

Here I am with Zmira Lutzky, host on Kol HaMusica, after our show.

“Syrinx Journey” – August 22: Happy 150th Birthday to Claude Debussy

Today, August 22, 2012, is the 150th birthday of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) – creator of masterpieces, innovator of a unique musical voice, and an inspiration for generations of artists who followed him. Debussy’s music has always held a significant place in my life. As a flutist, I cherish his solo, chamber, and orchestral contributions to my repertoire. I arranged several of his songs for flute and piano in a book published by Theodore Presser, “Nuits d’étoiles: 8 Early Songs Arranged for Flute and Piano.” As a historian, I have studied and researched Debussy’s life and work, having written my Master’s thesis and several articles about him. As Artistic Director of Dolce Suono Ensemble, I am pleased to be devoting our 2012-2013 season to the theme “Debussy in Our Midst: A Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Claude Debussy.”
I also have the desire to honor Debussy’s birthday year in a very personal way, with my project “Syrinx Journey.” I will make a video recording of his “Syrinx for Solo Flute” every day for one year, starting today on his birthday. “Syrinx” is one of the most important works ever written for solo flute. Composed in 1913 as instrumental music for Gabriel Mourey’s play “Psyché,” this 2 1/2 minute jewel highlights Debussy’s ability to create a universe of moods and timbres in microcosm, to invoke the soul of the instrument for which he writes, and to spark the imaginations of performers and listeners alike. Originally titled “La Flûte de Pan,” the work was performed from the wings during Pan’s death scene, giving rise to the current performance practice of performing Syrinx in a darkened room. The eminent flutist Louis Fleury gave the premiere performances and subsequently included the piece in his recitals.
I am challenging myself to delve deeply into “Syrinx” through my commitment to daily performances for a whole year. I am sure that the piece will take on new meanings for me every day as I experience it in a range of venues from traditional concert halls to natural settings. I am starting in Israel, in the Roman theater at Bet She’an. Not only was it thrilling to perform in this near-perfectly preserved Roman theater with its astoundingly brilliant acoustics, but the connection between the subject matter of the music, derived from Greek myth, and the ancient theater, was particularly inspiring.
Please come with me on my journey and join me in saying, bon anniversaire, Claude!
I welcome your comments as we embark upon this journey.