Gerard Schwarz is an exemplary musician. He was a hotshot trumpeter — one of the best in the world. Then he became a leading conductor. For many years, he led the Seattle Symphony, and also the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. He has led other institutions too. Now he is going to the Palm Beach Symphony. I joke that this is a “hardship post.”
Mahan Esfahani was nine when he first heard a harpsichord. He and his parents were visiting Iran, the country where he was born, and which his family had left for the US five years before. “An uncle gave me a bunch of cassettes,” he says. “One was of Karl Richter [the German conductor and harpsichordist] playing Bach. Well, I listened to it, and I thought: ‘This is what I’ve got to do.’ I don’t mean in terms of a career. I just thought my life would be well spent in the company of this instrument. I thought I would get a profession, which is what every Iranian parent wants for their child, and that – once I was a doctor or lawyer – I’d be able to buy a harpsichord, and play at home.”
When violinist Anne Akiko Meyers started getting the music for a new violin concerto that she had commissioned from composer Adam Schoenberg, she was in for a rather major surprise.
"The first movement was all done in scordatura, which was a first for me," said Meyers. In other words, Schoenberg's music required that she tune one of the strings of her famous 1741 "Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesù down an entire step. Specifically, the G string would be tuned down to an F. "I thought, what am I supposed to do with this? What happens? Do you read the music the same way? Or do I need a crash course on how to play the violin in the key of F, with an F string?"
The power of duos permeates the performances and creative processes of Anderson & Roe. They’ve even thought to couple cocktails with concertos. What began as a blog feature called “Musical Mixology,” which according to Anderson, sprung from the premise that “the effective pairing of music and cocktails can enhance the potency of both” has developed into a live concert model. In the same manner that those with synesthesia perceive color while listening to music, Anderson & Roe may be aiming for their wrapped audiences to taste sound and hear taste. Chilled sat down to chat with the duo.
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin joins Norman to talk about his upcoming performance of Strauss' "Burleske in D minor" and Ravel's "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G Major" with the Madison Symphony Orchestra, John DeMain conducting, at the Overture Center in Madison on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 12-14.
Renowned Russian-American pianist Olga Kern, 2001 winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is coming to Southern California for a series of concerts starting with Friday at SOKA Performing Arts Centre, Broad Stage in Santa Monica this Saturday, and two performances on Saturday, February 16 with the Pasadena Symphony. Recently John Van Driel had a chance to talk to Ms. Kern about her busy performing and teaching schedule.