Kalmanovitch, Coleman, Reichman
March 10, 2013
This program begins with two works written in 1970 (not coincidentally, the year I was born). Morton Feldman's The Viola in my Life IIIcelebrates the viola outright. John Cage's Solo for Voice 34, originally scored for voice and electronics, is presented here for voice and viola.
Irish composer Ronan Guilfoyle wrote his Sonata for Viola and Piano for me in 2001, and I premiered it that year at the National Concert Hall of Ireland. While very much a "classical" sonata, the piece draws on Afro-Cuban montunos, Bulgarian wedding band music, and jazz harmony. The violist is called upon to improvise throughout the piece, including an extended cadenza in the final movement.
The first half of the program will also feature two new works commissioned especially for this concert from composer/improvisersAnthony Coleman and Ted Reichman. These will be the first entries in a new project, the Viola Song Book. In my work as a teacher and touring musician, I meet violists from all over the world and over time, I've come to cherish the robust instrumental bond. The "Song Books" project celebrates violists by commissioning new work for solo viola from composers across a broad swathe of musical styles. I will compile the compositions, disseminate them among my international community of violists, and document their performances worldwide on a website.
My NEC faculty colleagues, pianist Anthony Coleman and accordionistTed Reichman, will join me for the second half of the concert. In our trio, we walk the contested spaces between composition and improvisation, and art music, free improvisation, and popular song. Our core repertoire includes original compositions and re-compositions of classical and popular music—from the final movement of Mahler's Third Symphony, the Russian popular song "Kalinka," to Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo—that we have developed for thematic NEC concerts such as "Ellingtonia," "Global Attractions," and "Mahler in Chinatown."