As colder weather returns to the East Coast and the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down, I’ve put together this post to share with you the three pieces (so far) that I composed to be performed live, over Zoom, which, despite its shortcomings, still holds as the simplest way to perform together online. Yes – you can put together amazing quarantine videos by recording separately and combining the results in post-production; yes –– you can play live over JackTrip and JamKazam if you have external microphones and an ethernet connection — but for many of us, these things are just too much to invest in, especially as many reconsider their housing options. Any phone / computer or tablet can connect to Zoom. It’s not ideal — but there is absolutely nothing that replaces the feeling of playing live music, seeing and hearing your musical friends again, warble, latency and everything.
Sheet music is available — I’m also available to compose new works, and to works written by others, on fadolín or viola. And every one of the musicians below is ready, willing and able to perform as well. Reach out, please. Don’t be shy. Please be safe and thank you!
“Intermezzo” (composed for three cellos in March 2020, but premiered by two cellists, Laura Melnicoff & Valeriya Sholokhova, and myself on fadolín) uses a form of “call and response” to create an accompaniment that is free flowing between two performers, while a third performer offers a melody that is floating on top. The result is a sort of “rubato”, a sense of bent time that would be hard to replicate in the real world.
“Social Instants”, written a few days later, is a suite of micro-duets for two musicians (violin and fadolín in the premiere video), which explore a variety of techniques to create a sense of sync without using vertical alignment — imitation, call and response, rhythmic ambiguity, listening to and ignoring your performing partner. The video above inter-cuts between two performances — featuring violinists Leonor Falcón & Nataly Merezhuk — to illustrate the different challenges of performing remotely. “Social Instants” is fun and easily sight-readable for most — you can download the sheet music for free.
“Together!*” (with the asterisk) was commissioned by the Queens-based contemporary music Percussia for an elementary school assembly, and premiered live over Zoom for a conference of fourth graders. In the video above, flutist Margaret Lancaster and I were a few blocks away from each other on the Upper West Side (New York City), Susan Jolles was playing from Forest Hills, Queens (New York City), and Ingrid Gordon, the band’s leader, was playing from her parents cabin in Wisconsin. The piece begins with each performer stating contrasting material, which, over time, continues to grow more unified as a whole.
We continue to confront the situation we’re in, to creatively meet the challenge of our isolation, embrace latency and continue performing, alone but together.
What do you think?
Drop me a line below, or contact me via email.