America, November 2016

Posted on November 11th, 2016 by


The work begins here, my practice desk in Stillwater MN. 111116

The work begins here, my practice desk in Stillwater MN. 101116

I have come back to the USA for a week of concerts, masterclasses and workshops. It’s a great delight for me to begin my visit in the the part of the Midwest that I love so much; the St Croix River in the the River Falls/Still water area.

Back to the St Croix. Looking east over the river, 11 11 16

Back to the St Croix. Looking east over the river, 11 11 16

11th November-Concerts and talks in Wisconsin and Minnesota

began my day in the Band Rehearsal room at the University, listening to the ensemble, under Music Director, Kristin Tornehoj, rehearsing Nigel Clarke’s ‘Evolution’. After they played for me for 20 minutes, I gave a short talk about the importnnce of collaboration in my musical life, and played them works by Nigel Clarke, Sadie Harrison, Matteis, and Locatelli.

Autumn Morning in Stillwater Minnesota. Frost

Autumn Morning in Stillwater Minnesota. Frost

Immediately after this small lecture recital, I went on stage in the lovely Abbott Concert Hall to play a Lunchtime concert. The lunchtime series here is very impressive, drawing a large audience of all ages both from the campus and the local area. It’s very exciting to see what the work of Kristin Tornehoj and her team of colleagues and students have achieved here. 250 people for a solo violin concert on a Friday midday is very impressive.

So happy to be back in my Midwestern home-crisscrossing our beloved St Croix and working with the lovely team led by Kristin Tjornehoj at University of Wisconsin River Falls. Today I played Sadie Harrison, Matteis, David Gorton, Locatelli, Haflidi Hallgrimsson, Michael Hersch, Torelli, Purcell, Bach, Ole Bull, Mylargutten in the lovely Abbot Concert Hall, to a fantastic 200plus audience for a lunchtime concert. I finished with Nigel Clarke's ever -epic Pernambuco

So happy to be back in my Midwestern home-crisscrossing our beloved St Croix and working with the lovely team led by Kristin Tjornehoj at University of Wisconsin River Falls.

I played Sadie Harrison, Matteis, David Gorton, Locatelli, Haflidi Hallgrimsson, Michael Hersch, Torelli, Purcell, Bach, Ole Bull, Mylargutten and  finished with Nigel Clarke’s (ever -epic) Pernambuco. It was Nigel who introduced me to the inspirational teachers and musicians here, so they were delighted to hear the piece. After the concert I was very happy to spend time with the fascinating composer Jack Stamp, who is planning on writing me a new work for solo violin… A riotous conversation about musical possibilities and the composers we admired, especially George Rochber. It was veteran’s day, so the restaurant where we ate was feeding past and present military gratis.

Composer Jack Stamp. River Falls WN 11 11 16

Composer Jack Stamp. River Falls WN 11 11 16

Then it was back over the the St Croix to Stillwater. This town is a favourite of mine, filled wit beatiful late Victorian architecture, and a spectacular lift bridge over the river. It still retains a sense of the early pioneer endeavour and prosperity, from the elegant city hall on overlooking Main Street from the hillside and the huddle of boats, shops, and old warehouses down on the waterfront.

Stillwater Victorian 11 11 16

Stillwater Victorian 11 11 16

In the evening I was honoured to play and talk about Ole Bull as part of the Fundraiser for the newly launching Zephyr Theatre company in the old Train Depot here. A great atmosphere, and it was exciting to see the passion, and commitment to the arts in the community here.

First Frost Stillwater 12 11 16

First Frost Stillwater 12 11 16

I am very pleased to be anywhere near old trains or railway architecture, so I was doubly pleased. After the concert, it was good to talk violins with a young local luthier, Trevor Holien.

The roof of the Old Train Depot-soon to the the Zephyr Threater. Stillwater 11 11 16

The roof of the Old Train Depot-soon to the the Zephyr Threater. Stillwater 11 11 16

Flyer for the Stillwater event

Flyer for the Stillwater event

Listening 11 12 16

Listening 11 12 16

12th November Hastings, Wisconsin

The Hastings City Hall. It looked very familiar, which is not surpsing; it's architect Abraham Radcliffe, designed a number of the houses on Summit Avenue, St Paul.

The Hastings City Hall. It looked very familiar, which is not surpsing; it’s architect Abraham Radcliffe, designed a number of the houses on Summit Avenue, St Paul.

Today I spent a happy morning working with four very talented musicians at the Hastings Art Centre. hanks to its founders and directors Travis and Sarah and Travis Lockwood. Lalo, Bruch, Mendelssohn and Svendsen-all happy memories of teenage years…Thanks to Kristin Tjornehoj for all the work here in the Midwest.

Masterclass at the Hastings Arts Centre. 12 11 16

Masterclass at the Hastings Arts Centre-lovely support at the piano from Sarah Lockwood. 12 11 16

I am always a little uncomfortable with the notion of a Masterclass, as I certainly don’t consider that I have any mastery. However, I love the opportunity to swap ideas with young musicians. So we talked about technique, and history, and yoga….!

With Kristin Tjornehoj and fascinating teacher and violinist Natalia Moiseeva after this morning's workshop-very grateful to Natalia for the lovely students and her thoughtful contributions to the session and conversation afterwards.

With Kristin Tjornehoj and fascinating teacher and violinist Natalia Moiseeva after this morning’s workshop-very grateful to Natalia for the lovely students and her thoughtful contributions to the session and conversation afterwards.

After the event, I gave an interview to a local reporter. I said this. It seems important to reiterate it:

At this moment, when, in both of our countries, it seems as if the forces of doubt, suspicion and ill-will have momentarily gained the upper hand, it is vital to remind ourselves of the essential goodness of people, of our obligation to each other. The arts have a vital role here, not to demand attention for themselves, but to offer an unalloyed good. Artists of all ages and backgrounds, all disciplines and ilks are duty-bound to take the challenge of offering truth and beauty, and to listen and to share. Workshops, salons, , concerts, all artistic activity is two-way; it must offer an alternative to the thoughtless clamour and selfishness that it is all too easily overwhelming.

Welcome to Hastings 12 11 16

Welcome to Hastings 12 11 16

14th November New York

Dawn on the Upper West Side 14 11 16

Dawn on the Upper West Side 14 11 16

Today I went  over to the Metropolitan Museum to give my concert on the the Francesca ‘Stradivari’, the ‘Ole Bull’ Niccolo Amati, and the 1629 Girolamo Amati. It’s always a pleausre to meet up with Bradley Strauchen, the director of the music department, and on my arrival I discovered that she had also brought out an exquisite 1756 Hardanger fiffle made either by Isak Nielsen (Skaar) Botnen (Norwegian, 1669–1759) or  Trond Isaksen Flatebø (Norwegian, 1713–1772). This anticipated the work that I will do in St Paul tomorrow and Thursday on the 1860 Dahl instrument. It was wonderful to see it alongside the 1694 Stradivari.

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Hardanger Fiddle by either Isak Nielsen (Skaar) Botnen (Norwegian, 1669–1759) or Trond Isaksen Flatebø (Norwegian, 1713–1772). Metroplitan Museum

The team at the Metropolitan Museum bring together astonishing expertise and unquenchable enthusiam for their field. They immediately took a very active and inquisitive part in understanding my programe. I played Ole Bull, Marini, Torelli, Matteis, Biber,Tartini, Telemann, Locatelli, Viotti and the premiere of David Gorton’s lovely new ‘Farnaby’s Fancy’. For the earlier works, I lines up the composition dates of the pieces, with dates of the instruments, and moved between Biber, Tartini and Tourte model bows.

Talking and playing. Metropolitan Museum 14 11 16

Talking and playing. Metropolitan Museum 14 11 16

15th November-Peabody Conservatoire, Baltimore

I have been lucky enough to have worked closely with the fantastic composer and pianist Michael Hersch for over 12 years. So it is always a pleasure to return to Baltimore where he is head of composition. I spent most of the day with groups of composers studying at Peabody, finishing with a workshop on the links between contemporary and early approaches to the violin.

Preparing to give a seminar/recital to the composers at Peabody Conservatoire. 15 11 16

Preparing to give a seminar/recital to the composers at Peabody Conservatoire. 15 11 16

In the morning however, a new project began. I have been planning to work with the soprano, Ah Young, for some time, Today was our first chance to begin detailed work on Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments. This will be a long-term detailed project of rehearsal, inquiry and performance, and it is an enormous privilege to be able to work with this extraordinary singer.

Ay Uoung in her studio at Peabody. 15 11 19

Ay Uoung in her studio at Peabody. 15 11 19

Every time I come to Baltimore, I am inspired by the architecture and atmosphere of Mount Vernon, and always insist on some time to read and study in the exquisite library; surely one of greatest pieces of 19th century architecture. and a joy to the soul.

My temporary desk in the jaw-dropping library at Peabody 15 11 16

My temporary desk in the jaw-dropping library at Peabody 15 11 16

Staircase. Peabody 15 11 16

Staircase. Peabody 15 11 16

 

 

 

 

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