Archive for the “viola” Category

161406554_2a1aeaa283 This week on the podcast, I wrap-up the month of violist interviews with John Pickford Richards. For those of you not sure who John is, he’s best known as the violist in Alarm Will Sound and the JACK Quartet. Our three violists in May posed some important questions, not just for composers, but for performers as well. Beth Weisser asked, “What is the core of what we do?” Nadia Sirota encouraged us to embrace who we are. John Richards asks, “What is the opposite of a cheerleader?” Also, have you ever wondered if John has been hit by a composer? Listen to this weeks episode and find out.

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I wish I could tell all of you how excited I am about the interviews lined up for the summer, but I need to keep a few of them a secret until I actually finalize and record them. For now, I will just mention that July is devoted to the members of a certain unique string quartet, and August and September will feature musicians from outside New York (and even a few from outside the US).  In the meantime, check back in June for my interviews with Seda Röder and Brad Lubman. And thanks again to Beth, Nadia and John.

For those of you in NYC, I’ll see you today at the Bang on a Can Marathon!

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For those of you keeping track, this week’s episode is the second of three highlighting violists. Last week, Elizabeth Weisser; this week, Nadia Sirota. Nadia has some good advice for musicians: it may sound obvious, but that thing that makes you unique is the thing that makes you special. Not only is this good advice for performers but it’s good for composers to remember as well. The more we can embrace our “craziness”, the more comfortable we can be with ourselves. Musicians on the podcast talk a lot about working and collaborating with composers, but Nadia actually has some suggestions for making these relationships work in mutually respectful ways. Nadia also has a new CD, first things first, which will be released on New Amsterdam Records on Tuesday, May 19 (Steve had a nice pre-release-party-post last week).

Looking ahead, the week of May 31 will feature violist John Pickford Richards, and during the month of June I’ll be talking with pianist Seda Röder and conductor/composer Brad Lubman.

May 31 also happens to be the annual Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City– are there any musicians you would like me to try and track down for an interview? I will also be in Chicago in early June – is there anyone in the second-city I should be in touch with? If you have suggestions please email them to:

And for those of you new to the show, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking here, point your blog-readers here, or find it on InstantEncore by clicking here.

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As promised, during the month of May I’ll be talking exclusively with violists, beginning with Elizabeth Weisser of the iO Quartet. I swear it’s a total coincidence that, two weeks in a row, I’ve talked with musicians who had great experiences with Helmut Lachenmann (and I already know there will be one more mention this month). Elizabeth does have lots of other things for us to think about, though, for instance: when a composer brings material to a musician, the musician improvises, and the composer notates the improvisation, then whose music is it? She also asks, “What’s the core of what we do? What’s the main thing we are trying to get across? And, why?”

Looking ahead, the week of May 17 will be my interview with violist Nadia Sirota and the week of May 31 will be violist John Pickford Richards.

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