Bruce Adolphe and I are sitting in the audience or Bergan PAC listening to an amazing quartet of young players (ages ca. 14) discussing which movement and quarter number this is, from the infamous Shostakovich.
Bruce went up to help the quartet with their tuning and tempo, they are doing a great job! (Francisco)
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The piece I wrote for this 25th anniversary concert is very hard: the rhythms are tricky, and two of the movements are predominately in 11/16. (Francisco asked me why 11/16 instead of ¾ , which is 12/16, and I admitted that in these hard economic times, I simply had to save some notes, so I took one 1/16 out of every bar. He believed me!)
It is really amazing to hear kids ages 8 to 18 playing and singing such a difficult work. I suppose I could have made it easier, but the tricky rhythms are a part of my nature, and my music wouldn’t be mine if the rhythms didn’t swing and bounce in a certain way – perhaps it is from growing up in New York and always weaving my through traffic and dodging danger. So I had no choice but to make the piece tricky. To see kids playing this is a great thrill. Two weeks ago, Yo-Yo Ma premiered a huge piece I wrote for him called Self Comes to Mind, and he played it amazingly & brilliantly including lots of very tricky rhythms. But hey! He’s Yo-Yo Ma not a 10 year-old kid whose been playing for 6 years! So, yeah that was great, but this is amazing! Also, need I say that the YPCNYC is fantastic and is singing this piece beautifully and accurately. They seem very far away in this huge theater, especially when the orchestra is in front of them — so it is difficult to negotiate the acoustics, but I’m sure they will rise to the occasion and sing the place apart! By the way, Elizabeth Nunez (why are so many of the YPC conductors named Nunez, anyway?) is wonderful – very musical, inspiring, clear, and almost as pretty as Francisco, wait — I mean prettier! I have to thank Elizabeth for taking on such a hard piece. Apparently Francisco was a little concerned about those 11/16 bars, so he made her do it. But she is fine with it. So thank YPCNYC and thanks, too, to the amazing young instrumentalists of the Thurnauer School of Music who are playing Music Is so beautifully and full of energy! Also – young Chase Park, a 10 year-old cellist, plays a solo in my piece along with the chorus and piano. He is such a marvel, and I am sure we will be seeing him on the great stages of the world very soon. ( Hey Yo-Yo watch out for Chase!)