13 Jul 2013
Living Music
As performing artists our world is not only enriched by our collaborators and colleagues, it is fueled by them.  The process of finding these special people lasts a lifetime and is first established in those eager encounters at summer camp, our orchestra assignments in undergrad, or who we drove with to avoid airfares out to Aspen. Collaborators When I joined the Stamford Symphony as Principal Cello two years ago, I did not take for granted that I was so graciously and openly embraced by a new group of musicians, most of whom had known each other more than twenty years. And in that same year, I played two concerti with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, in part because I had grown up there and one of my first teachers, Colin Ryan, is principal cellist with the group.  I played a concert at the Quick Center in Connecticut in May with a newer colleague, pianist Sakiko Ohashi whom I met in New Orleans at Andy’s Alma Mater (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts), but the program was put together by she and violinist Helen Kim - one of her closest friends from Juilliard– from their Pre-College years! So over lunch I got to hear stories of practicing, lessons and various hilarities from over twenty years ago. All this is to say: if we remain open, we can build magical musical webs from the time we're young to the present day and are we ever the richer for it!

One of things that keeps our ears and instincts sharp is to recognize new collaborators when we see and hear them when they don’t share our history – and invite someone new into our own artistic circle to enrich and colour our work. Long friendships will often form the core of our music-making and the longer we work with people, the more free we can potentially be, and the more subtle the musical result. But adding new energy into that mix can be such a potent experience and challenges us in ways we need, to keep our collaborative selves working to be better and more flexible.

As we embark on this 20th season of WCM, the artists involved are truly a mix of those beautifully simmered musical relationships (Judith Pearce, Matt Sullivan, Anna Lim, Tannis Gibson) and spices added later in the mix (myself, Andy Waggoner, Nurit Pacht, Dan Panner). No matter old or new, the integrity of the collaboration remains, and the contributions and points of view balanced and traded. This festival, it seems to me, has always held that value through the musicians involved, and the openness and enthusiasm for the work is one of the great joys of doing what we do.  As a new Co-Artistic Director, I may be helping people with housing and other logistics during the festival, but my title otherwise turns over “collaborative artist”. If anyone is tempted to defer to my musical opinion because of my otherwise title, I will be sorely disappointed! I look forward to great exchanges, great arguments and musical experiments, all to sharpen my ability to make wonderful things happen in music in ways I couldn’t imagine on my own.

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Bloch: Suite for Cello solo no 3
Sessions: Pieces (6) for Cello solo
Harbison: Suite for Solo Cello
Lutoslawski: Grave
Stucky: Dialoghi
Waggoner: Le Nom (Upperline)
Weesner: Possible Stories
Boulanger: Pieces (3) for Cello and Piano
Carter: Figment

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