A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella now available at Albany Records

Monday, March 28, 2011

Have violin, will travel

 Margaret Wolfson and I got to work with two local musicians in Abu Dhabi. The remarkable violinist was Pasha Cazan, who played our PSYCHE AND EROS with a passion and conviction well beyond her years. She is one of a number of musicians who make their way mostly by playing for hotels, corporate events, weddings and parties in Abu Dhabi and neighboring Dubai, with an occasional more serious gig from time to time. The Abu Dhabi/Dubai scene not only takes solid musicianship, but a willingness to work in a variety of styles--from East to Middle East to West. It also takes marketing flair and some snazzy electric violins.

Although conservatory trained in her native Moldova, Pasha didn't want to be straight-jacketed in an orchestra and instead moved to the UAE to seek her fortune. It would seem that there is definitely a need for adventurous, entrepreneurial musicians there and those who are willing to adapt to the stylistic diversity and various performing conditions can be well rewarded for their efforts. Wow!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chamber Music and Zaha Hadid

 Last night the Abu Dhabi Festival hosted the first of a series of performances at a wonderful portable theatre designed by Zaha Hadid. The concert featured classical chamber music by Carnegie Hall's Ensemble ACJW with a young soprano from the Emirates, Sara Al-Qaiwani. The theatre was set up on the grounds of the lavish and traditional Emirates Palace Hotel.

We were hoping to actually perform at this theater, but because of its intimacy Margaret and I we were moved to a different venue.

The portable theater plays off the acoustics of its surroundings. It doesn't look like it's made an appearance in the United States yet.

 The setting was a remarkable accomplishment. A musical performance is very influenced by its surroundings and the wispy theater created an intimacy--almost feeling like you were hearing music in a tent.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Abu Dhabi festival

Here's a little more context for what's going on with Abu Dhabi.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

With Margaret Wolfson in Abu Dhabi

About ten years ago, storyteller Margaret Wolfson and I wrote PSYCHE AND EROS for the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. This ambitious forty minute piece had a great premiere but unfortunately has languished on the shelf since then. Fortunately, we have gotten a chance to do it again, in a smaller version for Storyteller, Violin and Piano, which will premiere on the 25th at the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival. Stay tuned for posts from Abu Dhabi!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Slaying the Dragon

A new project, SLAYING THE DRAGON, saw the first light of day last week at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia. Center City Opera's Andrew Kurtz had the inspiration to create an opera based on the true story of a rabbi and his wife who befriend and change the path of a Grand Dragon of the KKK.

It was a very intense day starting with a reading of Ellen Frankel's libretto under the supervision of dramaturg Albert Innaurato. That evening, the libretto, with many last minute revisions, was presented to a small audience along with a couple of minutes of music.

Ellen did an amazing job of writing on the spot while absorbing the suggestions!