Thursday, July 14, 2011

Serving up fresh ingredients makes for success!

Composer Mark Warhol and his Ensemble Warhol have been putting together compact and vivid productions that combine live contemporary music, dance, theater, and visual arts. How refreshing to be involved in a production where everything from the music, stage designs – including mobile sculptures – to the choreography, were current, contemporary and actually produced solely for this production. The audiences responded with interest and approval to this fresh event with tailor-made elements!

The Photo Gallery from the recent production of Mark’s Memories and Fantasies shows how well the dancers, actors, and stage-set all worked together. Note how the white stage sculptures by James Fuhrman added another dimension for the imagination.

I certainly applaud artists such as Mark Warhol who realize and respect the potential of the stage as a live performance space, rather than a place for re-cycled reproductions of artistic heir-looms. Bravo!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adieu Racheli - keep making your music!

I am deeply sadden that cellist Racheli Galay will soon be taking leave of the US and returning to her native land where richer opportunities exist. Racheli inspires and mesmerizes all that hear her play the cello. I would personally prefer to hear her over any of the world cello stars current doing the circuit. After a blazing performance of the Barber cello sonata a composer-colleague commented, “You know who she reminds me of, don’t you?” I had never seen Jacqueline du Pré live, but he had vivid memories her presence, and Racheli’s intensity is as compelling. Another colleague in the audience immediately booked Racheli as soloist with his group.

I could gather myself up onto a soap box and rant about the myth of 'hard work and talent' as the sole key to success, or the falsehood that  ‘cream rises to the top’ (when it is the spin that rises). But I’d rather say “Thank you, Racheli. You bring music to life - and life to music. Your music has touched me greatly and deeply.”

Chicagoans have one more opportunity to hear Racheli perform live at MAYSES UN KLANGEN - Stories and Sounds  at The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie, IL. Sunday, July 10, 1:30pm.

(I admit to selfishly booking Racheli and her chamber musician friends for a private jam session/salon before she leaves.  Although live is best, perhaps I will be able to share some of this via video.)

Adieu Racheli. Remember, we still have the Elgar cello concerto to perform together. Keep that hope alive!