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21 Jul

Hello everyone!

I am writing you from a small, quaint house in Stockbridge, MA where I will be staying through the end of August. This summer, I was invited to play new music at the Tanglewood Music Center as a member of the “New Fromm Players.” As such, I am living with three other string players in the program. Our house are a short walk the historic main street of Stockbridge made famous by this drawing by Norman Rockwell:

Of course, it is far from winter here right now (95* at night?!) and there is certainly no snow on the ground but the picture does capture the unfading charm of Stockbridge. There is a wonderful sense of calm here. It is quiet and secluded and we are surrounded by nature. It is a great place to immerse yourself in your work.

We have a big load of contemporary chamber music to prepare and perform. Over the course of the summer, we are playing music by Ligeti, Babbitt, Schoenberg, Wuorinen, Stravinsky, and a few young composition fellows. The earliest piece we are playing was written in 1906 and the most recent piece was completed a few months ago. It has been really fascinating to survey the wide variety of music that has been written in the past 100 years. It presents a unique challenge to us as the performers. With each piece, you need to not only figure out how to technique produce the sounds, but you have to really get into the head of the composer. You have to learn what is important to them, where their priorities lie. Some are concerned solely with creating captivating textures and colors while others want very precise and complicated rhythmic patterns. Its a bit like trying to speak a different language at each rehearsal.

It has felt like a challenge to pull off all of this new music. It is something I have not done so much before. When we stepped out on stage and played the Ligeti quartet we had worked on for hours and hours and hours, it was almost a shock to realize we could play it!

Anyway, just wanted to say hello and tell you a little of what i have been up to. CAL team I miss you! I hope you guys are having a great time with the summer so far. Where are the pictures? I want to hear some stories!

 

A shot of one of our quartet performances.

 

After a concert, I got a chance to check out this awesome hiking trail on Monument Mountain.

Looking forward to hearing from you guys soon!

 

Mike

 

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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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