Posts Tagged “Classical Guitar”

THE BIRTH OF CINEMA VERISMO

mak_grgic_3-505x336

Hello to all music makers, guitar geeks, and film fanatics and welcome to the “behind the scenes” of how Cinema Verismo came to light!

You must all be wondering, why Cinema Verismo and how does the title relate to the funky cover picture of myself standing in a dusty old opera house? What is the roll of the guitar on the CD and what is the CD all about?

First thing’s first: just like many of you, I’m a young guy trying to figure out my role in music, classical music that is. You might roll your eyes right away when I say “classical music” and I agree, classical music can be to many uninviting, difficult, boring, uptight, for-old-people etc. (ask any person on the street what classical music means to them, and these will be the words popping out the most). Now why is that? Is it because we dress a certain way, because we act a certain way, because we care about things that are important only to us few classical musicians? Perhaps, but here’s probably the more general take on this: classical music is foreign to the majority because it poses something that is unfamiliar and strange to them. Just ask yourselves: what do you do when you go to a pop, rock, country or any concert of a more popular genre, and what do you notice? People singing along. Why? Because they are familiar with the tunes.

So here we have the issue of familiarity. What else? I was talking to a friend recently, about what he enjoys about music (in general) and he bluntly said: “you know… it’s good for the party.” Well, no kidding. I recall going to a concert of a classical pianist (for those who know pianists, it was Alfred Brendel) and it was in Vienna. Check this out: I shouted bravo after he finished and almost got kicked out of the hall for not being “respectful”. COME ON! What was happening 200 years ago at “classical concerts”? People were eating, drinking, having fun, partying, while the music was playing. So, let’s consider the entertainment factor of this. What else?

How can we compare dressing styles in popular music and classical music? Easy, there is no comparison. We, classical musicians dress like we have no idea about wardrobe, and everyone else dress like they know what they are doing. Yes, we are dull and uninspired. What else?

Compare the creative titles of your favorite albums (and even their covers) compared to most classical music albums.  Think about your own favorites.  How about the many top box office hits like Star Wars, ET, Superman, Batman, and many more.  Probably all cinema music is really orchestral music performed in a non-classical medium like film music.  We think Cinema Verismo breaks the classical music trend.  Cinema Verismo (deriving from the style of cinematography that popped out around 1970 – the veristic style – google it.) presents an idea that would counter all the classical music stereotypes, without losing its artsy touch!

What’s the content of the CD, you might ask, and how to cope with the familiarity factor? Easy: we chose tunes from popular movies, that everyone knows, but check this out: these tunes are in majority CLASSICAL tunes – but people know them! Why? Because everyone loves movies!! So, familiarity factor CHECK (interesting trivia: I was playing a concert in New Jersey and the audience started singing along while I was playing West Side Story).

What about the outfit on the cover? Well, what does it remind you of? Something Western, cowboy-like maybe? True! Guess which track is included on the album The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Why the photo session in an abandoned opera house in the middle of the desert? Again, easy: to create the film of a cinematic setting. For all interested: the place is called Amargosa Opera House and it’s a haunted opera house in Death Valley Junction between Vegas and Los Angeles.

So, this was a project that was forming for a year and a half – we took our sweet time to come up with something that would be totally different than one usually expects in classical music – all you traditionalists out there – listen to the album, the playing is still pretty good, so we didn’t lose track of that! Quality art is important!

Music makers, guitar geeks and film fanatics all around the world, welcome to the world of Cinema Verismo and let me guide you through the creative process of the making of the album. Let this be an inspiration for all to come, so tune in next week for a video of me showing off some cool guitar tricks used during recording.

Mak out!

Listen to the solo CD, ‘Cinema Verismo’ on YouTube.

Tour dates:

April 12 – Solo Recital at Northwest Guitar Festival - Seattle / Spokane, 7:30 pm

April 13 – Masterclass at Northwest Guitar Festival - Seattle / Spokane, 10:00 am

April 16 - Performance w/  USC Thornton Edge Ensemble - Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC, Los Angeles, 7:30pm

May 2 - Makrotonal Guitar at Microfest - All Saints Beverly Hills, 504 N Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, 8:00 pm

May 9 - Concert with the DC8 - Farmers & Merchants Bank, Downtown Los Angeles, 8:30 pm

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image_980673_highresA performance by New York City-based Threefifty Duo (Brett Parnell, guitar and Geremy Schulick, guitar) will kick off the inaugural season of Music at First on February 19th, 2010 at 7:30pm. Music at First is a new music series to be held at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn from February through May of 2010. First Presbyterian Church is located in Brooklyn Heights at 124 Henry St. There is a $10 suggested donation which will be collected at the door. There will be no advance reservations or ticket sales. For more information, please contact musicatfirst@gmail.com.

This series, curated by Wil Smith (New York composer who also serves as organist at First Presbyterian), occurs monthly, featuring one performer or ensemble per evening. Each concert will last about an hour and half each. Smith describes the new series, Music at First, as “a diverse mix of New York City’s best new music ensembles and performers, accessible to a wide audience of both community members and seasoned new music listeners.” Future performances include pianist Kathleen Supové on March 26, cellist/vocalist Jody Redhage and Fire in July on April 16 and a CD release with flute/percussionist duo Conor Nelson and Ayano Kataoka on May 28.

Threefifty Duo has been described as a “classical guitar duo with a rock edge,” as musicians Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick seamlessly weave their contemporary rock sensibilities into the rich fabric of classical guitar. After years of writing and performing together and with a second album under Threefifty’s belt, the duo’s stylistic tendencies have expanded beyond their initial categorization, with genre blurred by an intensely personal sound.

Formed in the halls of The Yale School of Music, taught by renowned classical guitarist Benjamin Verdery, and molded by the multi-faceted music scene of their hometown New York City, Threefifty has gone on to play in many respected venues and festivals, such as The 92nd Street Y, Southpaw, Pianos, The NY Guitar Festival, The Monkey, Bennington College, Connecticut Guitar Society, and a recent run of shows at California State University at Long Beach where choreography was set to their music. In December 2008 Threefifty Duo set off for Bosnia and Herzegovina where they played a nationally televised concert organized by The America-Bosnia Cultural Foundation in Sarajevo, with a member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in attendance.

Threefifty Duo’s music features driving rhythms and harmonies that stem from rock and pop music, combined with the intricate textures that are possible on the classical guitar.

DIRECTIONS TO FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF BROOKLYN:

BY SUBWAY: Take the #2 or #3 to Clark Street Station, the A or C to the High Street Station, the M, N, or R to the Court Street Station, or the 4 or 5 to Borough Hall

BY CAR: From Manhattan: Take the Brooklyn Bridge to the first exit on the Brooklyn side (Cadman Plaza West). Stay left as the exit splits. Go through one light and take a left at the next intersection onto Henry St. The Church is just past Clark St. on the right.

From the Brooklyn Queens Expressway: Take the Cadman Plaza West Exit, turn East onto Cadman Plaza West, then South onto Henry St. Continue on Henry to 124.

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photo by Jordan Matter

photo by Jordan Matter

It would be easy to continue describing Threefifty Duo as a “classical guitar duo with a rock edge,” as Yale School of Music grads Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick seamlessly weave their contemporary rock sensibilities into the rich texture of classical guitar. But after years of writing and performing together and now with a second album under Threefifty’s belt, the duo’s stylistic tendencies have expanded beyond their initial categorization, with genre blurred by an intensely personal sound. Their sophomore effort, Circles, presents a volume of all original compositions and a full emergence of the duo’s distinctive voice, highlighted by Dominic Frasca’s sumptuous production. The evening will feature a performance of the album in its entirety, with a video by multimedia artist Jennifer Stock.

A free copy of the CD and complementary beverages are included with each ticket purchase.
Tickets: $20 advance, $25 at the door
The Monkey: 37 w 26th St (between Broadway and 6th ave), suite 1204, Manhattan
Ticket reservations: www.monkeywest.com, 212-481-1601
More info: www.threefiftyduo.com

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