Testament

This Thursday, I’m presenting my second ANAM Fellowship concert, Testament. I’ve been working with a string quartet and just today had my first rehearsal with 11 other violists (!) led by a wonderful conductor, Dominic Harvey.

Testament is a 12-viola piece by Australian composer Brett Dean. It’s named after the Heiligenstadt Testament, which Beethoven wrote (while in Heiligenstadt) to his brothers in despair about life enduring worsening deafness. You can read more about it and get a link to a translation here.

Brett’s piece took the idea of this document and its emotional content, weaving in musical quotations from a Beethoven string quartet (Razumovsky quartet no. 1). We’ll perform Testament, the Razumovsky quartet, and music by the contemporary Hungarian composer György Kurtág who was Brett Dean’s most significant mentor.

I’ll joined by some of my oldest and dearest musical collaborators to present some very special music, woven together to tell a story of many dimensions.

You can book tickets here! And read more here.

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Out of the frying pan. . .

Transcend happened two nights ago and I’m happy to share this lovely review from Matthew Lorenzon at partialdurations.

I’m back in Canberra to play in Canberra Symphony Orchestra in a concert of beautiful music by Kodály, Sibelius and Brahms, before returning to Melbourne for my second Fellowship concert – Testament. This features music by Brett Dean, Ludwig van Beethoven and György Kurtág, and is centred around Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament. Stay tuned for more info, and there is already lots you can read/listen to here.

A photo taken at the end of "Transcend" by the inimitable Hank Clifton
A photo taken at the end of “Transcend” by the inimitable Hank Clifton

Interview

Just before I came back to Australia, I interviewed composer Paul Kerekes whose awesome new work four pieces (for viola and piano) will be premiered in my first ANAM Fellowship concert this Tuesday, 11 August. During our conversation, we spoke about his fascinating life as a pianist and composer working in New York City. You can listen here; it’s also possible to download the audio, put it on your phone/mp3 player and experience it on public transport, while or working out, or as you go to sleep..!

It’s less than a week until the concert now and I’m super excited to be playing with Jacob Abela (for Paul’s piece), my old teachers Chris Moore and Caroline Henbest and a great ensemble of Melbourne viola players (for Peter de Jager’s new viola nonet Metaphors, also receiving its world premiere during the concert). I’m also really looking forward to presenting a new work created with a great new musical friend, oud player and percussionist Yuval Ashkar, along with fabulous ANAM students Hamish Upton (percussion) and Kinga Janiszweski (double bass).