Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Group Recital Next Week

My teacher rarely has group recitals, but we are having one next week, in honor of a visit by contemporary cellist Eugene Friesent. It will be mostly kids; maybe 4 adults. I am the most “advanced” of the adults who will be there, but some of the kids are more advanced and/or have been playing longer. We are playing several pieces from Suzuki Book 1 from memory, in unison; Four high school girls will play the Telemann quartet that I am currently rehearsing with my cello choir, which is directed by another teacher. It will be interesting to hear the kids play it! There are no solo pieces and not too much to worry about.

I do kind of wish we would do more formal recitals, just so I can hear the others play, but my teacher focuses on individual Suzuki book recitals in which one plays every piece in the book by memory, with piano accompaniment. I add ensemble pieces to my recitals, initially because I needed an audience, and couldn’t imagine anyone sitting through a book one recital unless they also got to play. Now that the pieces are more complicated, it would be easier to have a group recital, in which each student would play only one solo piece, at least as practice for a book recital. I have been to recitals of the teacher of my cello choir, and it is inspiring to see how students improve over time.

Our recital next week will be quite short and is actually only the warm-up for the main event, which will be a workshop with Eugene Friesen. In the past, the focus has been on improvisation, and I imagine it will be again this time. After the workshop, he will give a public concert at a recently restored mansion, now a great venue for concerts and other events. He is always inventive, creative, and contemporary, playing in costume (as Pablo Casals, as a squirrel) or on his electric cello, imitating whale sounds. He is one of my favorite cellists, and it is wonderful to have this workshop with him--and best that I do not have to play anything challenging in the recital part of the workshop!

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