My new disk Appendage and Other Stories has arrived – see widget on the right column — reminding me that I had the lovely privilege of working with not-one-but-three superb violists: Sheila Browne, who teaches at NYU and UNCSA; Hsin-Yun Huang, who teaches at Juilliard and Mannes; and Richard O’Neill, who divides his time between UCLA and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  Seems only appropriate that violists should hold down multiple jobs.

The viola is much maligned, but in the hands of players like these, it’s a sublimely flexible instrument.  Sheila’s playing in Entrance emphasizes the viola’s ability to blend, to be a mellow member of a soothing, nearly homogenous ensemble.  Hsin-Yun’s performance of Still Point is a model of introspective lyricism.  And Richard, in Appendage, shows off the brash and aggressive side of the instrument.

Three rock-solid players in the middle of three different ensembles – and their partners aren’t so shabby, either.

Next up: I take off for Cologne today for the premiere of Through the Night with the Emerson String Quartet.  More on that later.

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