"Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles. That, I said, is very frank advice, but it is medicine easier given than taken. It is a wide country but I do not know just where to go."
There is an unavoidable contrast between the frantic music making in the cities of the East Coast, and the broader reflection in the spaces of the central United States. It has been undoubtedly interesting to see how my work within Passepartout Duo has reacted to these circumstances during this summer adventures.
Thanks to the support of Help Musicians I spent a dense week at the Norfolk Festival Workshop for New Music in Connecticut, between collaborations and concerts with an ensemble of great musicians and pieces of very different styles, written by talented young composers. The challenges were many: workshopping means to be able to give not only meaningful feedback but also original tips for new approaches pertinent to the instrument; time for rehearsal in chamber music is often a luxury but performing a piece in front of composer A. J. Kernis after just a couple of rehearsal days has definitely been stressful. Passepartout had also the great chance of playing C for Hannah Lash herself and I cannot state how inspirational it has been!
Some moments of the seminars also will stay printed in my mind, in particular David Lang presenting his The National Anthems and Lisa Moore performing Rzewski's Piano Piece No.
4. Here is Lisa performing it in another occasion:
The Duo's independent residency with the Crosshatch Centre for Art and Ecology at the Hill House in Michigan has been a very different experience. This meant not only time to record videos for our latest repertoire pieces by Kapustin, but also time to enjoy a different culture, and a residency program born from a dream. The dream that yes, it is possible to be an artist far away from big cities, that creativity can reinvent itself in the middle of nowhere in contact with nature, darkness, dilated time.
As usual it has been interesting also to be working on unusual models of instruments, in this case a Demorrow marimba and a Streicker upright piano. They aesthetically fit in the context very well, check them out in our videos:
From both these experiences we plan to develop new collaborations, in particular commissions with the composers we met, and hopefully new travels for new concerts in newer lands...