Don’t know how we managed to scoop the Times on this one. But here’s an interview with violinist Jeffrey Phillips, who’s doing many honors on next month’s Sequenza21 concert. The interview has to do with a certain set of violin solos by a composer who will be familiar to those who wander these parts. Enjoy!
Q. You’re going to be giving the U.S. premiere of two works for solo violin by Tom Myron on the first-ever Sequenza21 Concert. Are they hard?
A. “They are as difficult as one would expect two pieces that were written for Peter Sheppard-Skaerved and having their U.S. premiere to be. (That means yes.)”
Q. New Music types are obsessed with questions of style and influence. What style does Tom Myron write in. Is he a post-minimalist or a post-modernist or what? Style-wise is he ripping anyone off?
A. “I don’t know what kind of –ist(s) Tom or his music are, but it does seem as if he’s ripped off pretty much everyone including the poor guy at the 7-11 down the street. I guess those New Music types will just have to come to the concert and find out for themselves what –ist(s) Tom and his music are. I know I’m gonna.”
Q. According to the composer one of the pieces takes its inspiration from a poem by Ted Hughes and the other from a drawing by an 18th century German woman naturalist working in the Caribbean. Can you tell this just by playing them? Which is which?
A. “No, I can’t tell which is which just by playing them. Tom even told me which one was inspired by a poem by Ted Hughes and which one was inspired by Maria Sibylla Merian’s “A Surinam caiman fighting a South American false coral snake” and I still can’t keep them straight. I have caimans fighting poems and a snake arranged as a haiku stuck in my head.”
Q. Does it psych you out to be giving the U.S. premieres of two pieces that have been played all over the world by Naxos recording artist and violin god Peter Sheppard-Skaerved?
A. “Yes, of course, there is a little psyching out going on. Peter Sheppard-Skaerved has given the premieres of these two pieces (and numerous others) all over the world. Except in the U.S. That’s me.”