Social Instants


“Social Instants” was born at the dinner table, during our second week of relative isolation due to Coronavirus COVID-19. Having composed “Intermezzo” (for two cellos, fadolín and video conference) a few days earlier, I continued looking for ways to engage with my musician community in this strange time when most of us are moored at home, and the only way to play music together is through the unpredictable medium of video conference, which adds a layer of latency (or lag) to the conversation — manageable enough for a verbal conversation, but unacceptable for most traditional music collaboration. In this piece, I decided to experiment with different ways of embracing latency — call and response, rhythmic ambiguity, imitation, listening to or even ignoring your collaborator.

In the video above, I inter-cut between two performances, recorded with my dear colleagues Leonor Falcón and Nataly Merezhuk on successive evenings. These inter-cuts illustrate how different internet speeds and devices allow for different performance challenges. Even though my own setup was technically the same on both nights, the sound of my instrument was captured somehow differently.

These pieces are meant to be fun and sight-readable for most players. I am making the sheet music available to download for free – if you enjoy playing it, consider supporting my Patreon page for as low as $1 (per creation – not per month), so I can create more pieces like this for other instruments and musicians while we all try to manage through this time.

Here is the sheet music link:

And here is my Patreon link, if you are able to support:

Above all, enjoy!

Thank you,

March 27 2020

P.S. The journalist Adam Baer pointed out to me that these pieces were written on Bela Bartók’s birthday — this was pure coincidence, though his violin duets have without doubt provided much inspiration.

Ljova: Social Instants
seven micro-duets for two musicians and video conference
CATEGORY chamber music, video conference, covid_19
INSTRUMENTATION two musicians — the original version is two violins, but could be two fadolíns or violas, or arranged for other instruments
DURATION 8 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE March 25 and 26 2020, via Zoom video conference
WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMERS Nataly Merezhuk and Leonor Falcón, violins
Ljova, fadolín
RECORDING see above
SCORE AVAILABILITY See above to download this piece for free! All arrangements are available for sale via PDF or mail delivery; arrangements for combinations not listed above may be commissioned on request. [contact for more info]