Chamber Music and Viola High

The last two weeks been filled with wonderful chamber music. In addition to really enjoying the American Piano Trio concert last Sunday, the incredible Jerusalem Quartet was here last Thursday. They were phenomenal. One review said, "A good string quartet, wisdom has it, is like a single instrument with 16 strings. That sort of unity of sound and purpose is a given in any performance by the extraordinary Jerusalem Quartet," and I couldn't agree more. It was incredible! I guess that's what happens when you've been playing together since being teenagers!

On Friday, the Hibiki Trio had it's concert, and I had a fun time. We even "premiered" a piece for which I had transcribed a cello part into a viola part, and I think it sounded quite nice. It looks as though the live stream is still online, so if you're quick, you can still watch the concert here. We go on stage at approximately 7:30 into the recording. I'm not sure how much longer it'll be available though, so ACT NOW! :)

Then on Sunday evening, I had the pleasure of joining Joel Braun on stage for a double bass and viola duet by Tom Knific. Joel is such an amazing player, and really fun to work with. That was a really nice way to end a week chock-full of chamber music!

And then this week, I had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Mark Neumann, Associate Professor of Viola at the University of Oklahoma for a recital and master class. He played all solo viola music, and none of it was Bach or Hindemith (which are the typical staples of solo viola repertoire). It was a fantastic concert, and my students and I were all really jazzed to hear such a breadth of repertoire, and all for solo viola! Only one piece was a transcription (a Telemann Fantasia), otherwise all were composed for viola. He also programed pieces from different time periods, so it was an illuminating overview of both the development of music over time and the viola as a solo instrument. He played a few pieces I haven't played, and I'm inspired to learn them now. Then in the master class, he helped solidify ideas I've been giving my students (at one point, Mark said something to which half of my students all turned and looked at me guiltily, as if to say, "Okay fine, maybe I'll trust you now that I hear HIM say what you've been telling me for years!"), which is always a wonderful thing. Sometimes you just need to hear something from someone else to make it stick.

This week I'm performing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. We're playing the Brahms Haydn Variations, the "Jubilee" movement from Symphonic Sketches by George Whitefield Chadwick, and Holsts' Planets. It's a good program, and really nice to be back with an orchestra. With everything I've had going on this semester, I've had to say no to a lot of orchestra concerts, so this is a very nice addition to all of the solo and chamber music I've been performing lately.

And next week is Thanksgiving! I can hardly believe the semester is nearly over. It's time to start gearing up for everything that I have planned next semester. But more on that later. For now, here are some photos from the last two weeks.

Happy practicing!