PAE-DAY

News about upcoming projects, concerts, recordings, travels, and fun discoveries from Deborah...

Pae & Namirovsky Return to Brussels

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Last May, cellist Deborah Pae and pianist Misha Namirovsky enthralled audiences on their recital tour in Antwerp, Brussels, and Waterloo including an international livestream from the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in partnership with Musiq3 Radio and WASH Productions. 

After nearly a year, they are returning to Brussels under the auspices of MGConcerts and Domusica to present two recitals featuring works by Schumann, Beethoven, de Falla, Lecuona, Cervantes, and Brahms.  Do not miss this dynamic duo on May 1 and 3, 2017.  


MAY 1, 2017 at 6:00PM
MGCONCERTS


Private Residence
Brussels, Belgium

For info regarding location and to R.S.V.P., please contact Maria Grazia Tanese : mgtanese@gmail.com


MAY 3, 2017 at 7:30PM
DOMUSICA


Private Residence
Brussels, Belgium

For info regarding location and to R.S.V.P, please contact Chantal Despot & Danielle Llewellyn:  
Domusica.asbl@gmail.com

Admission : 40 €
For musicians and individuals under the age of 25 ans : 10 €
Reservation deposits can be made directly to the Domusica account :  
BE14 3630 5671 0583


"What does the dream classical music career look like? One example is that of cellist Deborah Pae."

A wonderful interview with Deborah Pae and Mike Telin of Cleveland Classical talking about the many facets of her career and her all solo-cello program featuring works by Bach, Mayuzumi, and Mumford; which took place at the Stocker Arts Center's Signature Series on November 3, 2016.

EXCITING NEWS | Deborah Pae Joins MGAM Artist Roster

Photography: Sam Zauscher

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

It is with great excitement that Marilyn Gilbert Artist Management (MGAM) welcomes cellist Deborah Pae to its roster of wonderful artists. MGAM will represent Ms. Pae in Canada and the United States.  Highlights of Ms. Pae's 2016-2017 season include concerts at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum in Boston, the Smithsonian National Museum in D.C., Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Columbus, Rice University's Duncan Recital Hall, and the Signature Series at the Stocker Arts Center.  In partnership with Outhere Music Label, Musiq3 Radio, and the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth; the release of her live recital recording on Series Prestige, which includes works by Britten, Schubert, and Beethoven; will also take place this year.

Cellist Deborah Pae adds major excitement to our roster as she will be playing solo with orchestra, recitals and chamber music. The excitement is generated by her musicianship and her warm and wonderful humanity.
— Marilyn Gilbert, MGAM Director

Debuting at sixteen with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Korean-American Pae has since played concertos with Sinfonia Varsovia of Poland, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, and the Westchester Philharmonic under the batons of Vassily Sinaisky, Thomas Wilkins, Christian Arming, Augustin Dumay, and Itzhak Perlman. Ms. Pae has also played solo recitals at the Neue Galerie, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Van Wezel Foundation’s Young Artists Series, and in 2005 debuted in Europe at the Musée du Louvre and has since been invited to perform at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Flagey Radio Hall, and Musée de Grenoble. Many of her performances have been broadcast internationally on television and radio, most notably the 2003 Grammy Awards and the 75th Anniversary of the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth. 

A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Pae is the cellist of the critically acclaimed Formosa Quartet (winners of the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the 2006 International London Quartet Competition) and founder of Trio Modetre (winners of the 2016 Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant and Silver Medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition). She has been a featured artist at festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia, Crans-Montana Classics, Festival Les Musicales de Colmar, and the Amsterdam Cello Biennale.  Ms. Pae has shared the stage with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Pamela Frank, Charles Neidich, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, Johannes, Pro Arte, Takács, and Cleveland String Quartets.  

Ms. Pae enjoys performing new and seldom-played works. Her debut recording released in 2013 by Zig-Zag Territoires, features Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 2 in D minor with conductor Christian Arming and the Liège Royal Philharmonique. In 2017, Trio Modetre’s debut recording Tribute to Frank Bridge: Masterpieces Among Peers will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Bridge’s death and revive his second piano trio. Furthermore, the American composer Jeffrey Mumford is currently writing a concerto of radiances blossoming in expanding air, which will be premiered by Ms. Pae in London with the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) in 2018. Pae has also given world premieres of Fantasia Festa by Jonathan Crehan, Le Dormeur du Val by Roberto Kalb, and Song Recollections by Lei Liang.

Ms. Pae is newly appointed Professor of Cello at Eastern Michigan University. She has served as Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at Académie et École Anglicorde in France, Visiting Guest Artist at Columbia University’s Music Performance Program, and Chamber Music Mentor at the Juilliard Pre-College Division, New England Conservatory Preparatory School, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. She has also served as artistic manager of Music for Food Boston benefit concert series, and founder and curator of the WLP Lunchtime Series in Boston (2010-2012).

Beginning at four on a bricolage cello made of a Cheerios box wound with strings, three years later, Ms. Pae became the youngest cellist accepted into the Juilliard Pre-College Division. She is an alum of the Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory, and Associated Artist at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium. Her mentors include cellists Gary Hoffman, Laurence Lesser, and Joel Krosnick as well as violinists Miriam Fried and Sylvia Rosenberg, and violist Kim Kashkashian. Recognized for her artistic versatility, Ms. Pae has received major awards from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, Belgian American Educational Foundation, DoMusica Foundation, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

Ms. Pae plays a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) generously on loan from the Arts and Letters Foundation.


About Marilyn Gilbert Artist Management (MGAM):

Marilyn Gilbert Artists Management (MGAM) has embraced change with a roster of musicians whose work challenges the artificial boundaries of genre and whose sparkling musicianship gives them broad appeal.

We are committed to developing the careers of dynamic, innovative musicians. The music market is undergoing a massive shift, as audiences are increasingly comprised of new communities with new tastes. In this context, musical innovation and adaptation is not only an aesthetic, but also a necessity. We are proud to represent artists who speak to a multitude of audiences, in a multitude of ways.

Audience development is a constant process. For this reason, we partner with artists who reach beyond the stage and make a difference in people’s lives, and work closely with both artists and presenters to develop programmes that transcend the concert hall and embrace the educational and outreach opportunities required to foster an active music culture.

Contact:

Marilyn Gilbert Artists Management Inc.
Marilyn Gilbert, Director
www.mgam.com
marilyn@mgam.com
1210-320 Tweedsmuir Ave
Toronto, ON
M5P 2Y3

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SALT Arts Documentation Presents: 'FORMOSA QUARTET | Meet Cellist Deborah Pae'

Deborah is embarking on her ninth month of being cellist of the critically acclaimed Formosa Quartet. During this short time, in addition to her tours as a solo artist, she has traveled and performed extensively with the quartet in the States, Canada, and Asia.  To learn more about her story -- where her love of the cello began and her many passions / interests -- enjoy watching her Artist Profile.  

Special thanks to SALT Arts Documentation for this wonderful short film about Deborah.  

 

Haven't met the rest of the quartet yet?  To 'Meet the Formosa Quartet' (and their humorous side showcased by an extraordinary reel of bloopers), please enjoy the short films below!

PRESS RELEASE: DEBORAH PAE APPOINTED PROFESSOR OF CELLO AT EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

 
 

June 7, 2016 - Eastern Michigan University is pleased to announce Deborah Pae to the faculty as Professor of Cello at the School of Music & Dance. Ms. Pae’s full –time tenure-track appointment will begin in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “exceptionally gifted” and “breathtaking," Ms. Pae has captivated audiences with her “superb tone...high level of interpretative intelligence” (Transcentury Blog) and "sophisticated technique" (San Diego Story). She holds degrees from the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and is former artist-in-residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium, and has established an international profile as a soloist, chamber musician, and recording artist (Outhere Music, Zig-Zag Territoires, New World Records).

A devoted teaching artist, Ms. Pae has served as Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at Académie et École Anglicorde in France, Visiting Guest Artist at Columbia University’s Music Performance Program, and Chamber Music Mentor at the Juilliard Pre-College Division, New England Conservatory Preparatory School, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. She has also served as artistic manager of Music for Food Boston benefit concert series, and founder and curator of the WLP Lunchtime Series in Boston (2010-2012).
 

I was immediately struck by EMU’s caring faculty and supportive environment during my visit there in April, and the students’ genuine desire to learn and to use their musical capabilities to reach the community at large. I look forward to working with everyone and making EMU my home starting this September!  - Deborah Pae


Ms. Pae is cellist of the critically acclaimed Formosa Quartet and award-winning Trio Modetre. She has received major awards from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, Belgian American Educational Foundation, DoMusica Foundation, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and plays a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) generously on loan from the Arts and Letters Foundation.

For Pae’s full biography and to learn about projects and future engagements, visit www.deborahpae.com

About EMU School of Music & Dance: Nurturing the musical growth of over 350 music and dance majors and minors, EMU School of Music & Dance offers an education that fosters creativity, encourages each student intellectually and creates a unique space for artistic expression. The dedicated members of the Eastern Michigan University faculty balance teaching and research to prepare students with relevant skills and real world awareness. From holding over 200 events featuring music and dance students and faculty to being home for one of the only two music therapy centers in Michigan, the School of Music & Dance offers an array of opportunity. Following the mission of the university, EMU School of Music & Dance strives to enrich lives in a supportive, intellectually dynamic and diverse community.

# # #

For information about EMU visit www.emich.edu

For additional information, please contact:
Abby Rudnicki, Events & Outreach Coordinator
743.487.2255 | arudnic1@emich.edu
N101 Alexander Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

EXCITING NEWS | Trio Modetre Wins Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant

From Left to Right:  Tessa Lark, violin; Misha Namirovsky, piano; Deborah Pae, cello

We are so excited to have been chosen as one of Tarisio Trust's top four winners! With this Young Artist Grant, we will be recording and releasing Trio Modetre's debut recording Tribute to Frank Bridge: Masterpieces Among Peers with TYXart Label.  This will mark the 75th anniversary of Frank Bridge's death and revive his second piano trio - only two recordings currently exist!  We will pair the British masterwork with another incredible masterpiece of the piano trio repertoire, Brahms Trio No. 1 in B major.  Thank you to Tarisio and jury members Lisa Batiashvili, Jeremy Geffen, and Gautier Capuçon for believing in our project.  We look forward to sharing it with you in 2017!

May 26, 2016: Antwerp (Plus an International LIVESTREAM on May 30th!)

I've been away for a year and have finally returned to my European home, Brussels, for a series of recitals!  My recital tour begins this Thursday in Antwerp at OPUS4 Gallery.  I am extremely excited for audiences to hear me with my wonderful pianist, duo and trio partner, Misha Namirovsky.  If you are in Antwerp or nearby, please join us!  

We'll be playing the same program in Brussels (May 29 at 7:30PM, for more info check out the concert pages) and at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapelle (May 30 at 8:00PM), which will be broadcast Live Stream on YouTube and on MUSIQ3 Radio.  Technology is making the world a smaller and more wonderful place so please tune in.  I will have all the info below!

MAY 30, 2016'S RECITAL AT THE QUEEN ELISABETH MUSIC CHAPELLE

WATCH THE LIVE STREAMING HERE (BRUSSELS TIME, GMT+2)!

A Blissful Week in Paris and Colmar, France

A few weeks ago, I returned to Paris after a year of living back in New York.  A year isn't terribly long, but a lot can happen during that time and a lot certainly has.  Paris (and Brussels) suffered the horrible attacks within a span of a few months and Europe's political and cultural landscape has been quickly shifting.  Just last week, the European Union Youth Orchestra, the brainchild of the celebrated and legendary conductor Claudio Abbado and an organization that has impacted hundreds and thousands of our most brilliant musicians, had their funding cut by the European Union bringing their operations to an end.  It's sending shockwaves throughout the entire continent and it seems we need music and art more than ever.  

But, even with this madness going on around the world, I left Paris (on my way to Brussels) feeling inspired.  People are still living their lives, not letting fear take over, and they are working as passionately as ever towards bringing people together through music and art.  It leaves you and those around you feeling more human.  I traveled to Colmar, in the beautiful region of Alsace, to perform a week of concerts at the festival Festival Les Musicales de Colmar run by artistic director and fabulous French cellist, Marc Coppey.  My week there reinforced why I shouldn't be worried about where the world is heading.  Not only did I perform with a group of stellar artists, each extremely accomplished in their careers but also individuals with such uniques voices and personalities; I was surrounded by people who were so passionate about the musical experience and building something memorable for the community at large.  The personnel and volunteers of the festival who worked tirelessly around the clock to make sure every detail from programs to meals for the artists were taken care of to the people from Colmar and audience members coming from near and far to attend the concerts and support the festival.  I was moved to see this.

Did I mention Colmar is a magical city?  It's like stepping back in time, so beautifully preserved (you almost wonder if people really do live there), and a traveling gourmand's dream.  It made me reflect on how important and necessary it is to share, to include people, to talk to them, to listen to them, to play for them, and to appreciate them even if other circumstances (whatever they may be - personal, professional, global) present themselves.  I am now in Brussels preparing for three recitals this week and everyone I have seen, old and new friends, have imparted the same kind of generosity of spirit.  The photos below are a glimpse into the fabulous week I spent in Paris and Colmar (action shots of the performances are by the wonderful Michel Spitz).  Enjoy.

Award-Winning Formosa Quartet Welcomes New Cellist

Formosa Quartet (from left to right):  Che-Yen Chen, Deborah Pae, Wayne Lee, Jasmine Lin

It seems like March flew by in a flash and now we are already at the end of April!  I have been on 8 flights and 7 concerts in the last four weeks, and will be on a plane to Paris this Wednesday.  There is so much I want to share with you and will get to in the coming week.  But in the meantime, I wanted to share this honor and highlight!  The members of the Formosa Quartet have been a joy to perform, travel, and spend time with during the last few weeks.  I am thrilled to be part of their global family and to join them in this new chapter of their 14-year history.  The official press release is below.

To learn more about the Formosas, please go to the Formosa Quartet website where you can watch our performances, attend our concerts, much more.


It is with great pleasure that the Formosa Quartet announces its new member, cellist Deborah Pae.

An internationally acclaimed artist, Deborah has built a rich and varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, teacher, and pioneer of new music. Her numerous awards include grants from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, DoMusica Foundation, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, as well as the silver medal in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition with Trio Modetre, the ensemble she co-founded. She has been a featured artist at renowned festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia, Crans-Montana Classics, and Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove. After three years as Artist-in-Residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium, Deborah has recently returned to the United States where she continues a full concert season of solo recitals and chamber music appearances in Europe, Asia, and North America.  Hailed by Gramophone as "exceptionally gifted" and "breathtaking", Deborah has shared the stage with many of the world's celebrated artists including Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, Pamela Frank, and Kim Kashkashian, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Cleveland Quartets.

The Formosa Quartet is thrilled to welcome both Deborah and her Vincenzo Postiglione (c. 1885) cello, generously on loan from the Arts and Letters Foundation, and looks forward to an exciting musical future in its new formation. Deborah begins playing as a part of Formosa immediately commencing with a 4-day residency at UCSD from April 18-21, 2016, during which Formosa will record Lei Liang's Verge Quartet as well as perform Liang's Song Recollections, a piece based on aboriginal Taiwanese folk songs — whose premiere, presented by Art of Élan in San Diego, was recently given by Formosa with Deborah as cellist. This June Deborah will make her inaugural trip to Taiwan with Formosa to premiere a commission by New-Zealand composer Garreth Farr for harp and string quartet.

Deborah succeeds cellist and founding member Ru-Pei Yeh, who remains in the Formosa Quartet family and whose warmth, humor, and artistry will be much missed by Formosa's audiences. Formosa extends its heartfelt thanks to Ru-Pei and celebrates her artistic contribution with its new CD on the Delos label (released April 6, 2016), featuring Brahms and Gernsheim piano quintets with pianist Reiko Uchida.

 

Contact:
Emily Motherwell, Marketing & Publicity Director
emily@arielartists.com
392 Belmont Street
Quincy, MA 02170-4011
United States
Ph: +1 646-266-6918

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Trio Modetre Returns to Boston for a Great Cause

On Monday February 22, I was thrilled to return to Boston with my piano trio, Trio Modetre, with violinist Tessa Lark and pianist Misha Namirovsky.  After several years of living on different continents, traveling and performing across the globe, we finally made our much anticipated return at the invitation of Music for Food Boston (MFF) at the New England Conservatory, our alma mater.  Performing in Boston seemed very fitting as the trio was founded at NEC in 2012 where we were all students and we got to share the stage with wonderful violinist and NEC faculty, Soovin Kim, who gave a powerful performance of Bach's Solo Sonata in D minor, BWV 1004.  Our concert that evening served as a vehicle to raise awareness and support for the Women's Lunch Place, one of MFF's affiliate partners and a sanctuary for women experiencing homelessness or poverty in the Boston community.  This shelter holds a special place in my heart as I curated a concert series there in 2011.  The series is still flourishing today under the leadership of current students at the Conservatory.

For those of you who are just hearing about Music for Food, MFF is a musician-led initiative to raise awareness about local hunger relief.  The concert series brings artists, musicians, audiences, and the people of our communities together to contribute their talents and gifts towards a very important issue in our society.  MFF began in 2010 and through their grassroots movement, they have flourished nationally and internationally.  Their model is sustainable and can be replicated for musicians to bring to their own communities which is why you can find Music for Food in BostonAppletonChicagoCincinnatiClevelandDallasLos AngelesNew YorkPhiladelphiaWashington D.C., and Berlin!  If you haven't heard about their growing partnerships, please visit their website to find out more.  Even if you're not a musician, you can still be part of this incredible organization. 

Thanks to a wonderful friend, SoYoung Sarah Yang, who has some nifty skills capturing photos on her phone, we're able to share a bit of the evening with you here.  Additionally, we would like to thank Kim Kashkashian, violist and artistic director of Music for Food; Cashman Kerr Prince, general manager; their entire team, and the Boston community for welcoming us so warmly. 

A Collection of Highlights from 2015


2015 has become a kaleidoscope of memorable performances, experiences, eye-opening travels, and connections with many extraordinary people.  This collection is a brief look into how colorful 2015 truly was and it gives me pleasure to share it with you.

Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

Deborah Pae


Still Dreaming About Japan

I may not have made it to where Jiro dreams of sushi, but my tour in Japan last month with violinist Yuzuko Horigome and members of the NHK Symphony was spectacularly full of Bach and Brahms, wonderful colleagues, reunions with longtime friends and family, and as many food excursions as I could fit into our concert / travel schedule.  They say a picture's worth a thousand words so here is approximately 22,000 fit into a photo map :-)

Skyline view from my hotel room in Shibuya, Tokyo

A stage picture at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall. It seats over 2,000 people!

Surprise from longtime friend, pianist, and NEC Alum Yoko Kida!

Violinists Yuzuko Horigome and Hiroyuki Yamaguchi 

A beautiful meal at Kushitei Ebisuhonten showcasing traditional Osaka cuisine

Three generations of Marlboro Festival participants on tour together!  Such a pleasure and honor to be playing with these two (Yuzuko Horigome, middle, and Ryo Sasaki, right)

My final meal in Tokyo before heading to the airport

Shibuya  punk rock bar culture

They pour their sake VERY generously

Hyogo Performing Arts Center

Reunion with Aizuri Quartet violist Ayane Kozasa's mother, my Japanese mom!

Life wouldn't be complete without a selfie (Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, left; Yuzuko Horigome, front center; Ryo Sasaki, back center; Ryo Oshima, back right; Yuya Tsuda, right; and me, front right!)

The mountains in Yamagata, which in Japanese means mountain!

Japanese blow fish sushi...

Tsukemen @ Rokurinsha Tokyo

Reunion with my cousin, Kyu!

Goodbye, Japan!  Until next time!

Dress rehearsal at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall

A plethora of delicious Japanese goodies from L'Audrey and Cybele, the sponsor of our concert in Yamagata

Our violists and their babies strapped into our JAL flight to Osaka!

Marlboro Festival reunion in Tokyo Train Station!

Tempura salmon with salmon fish roe

Seasonal vegetables, rice with minnows and pickles

On the way to Narita Airport

This Is What All Our Concerts Should Be Like

If you have 3 minutes to be browsing the internet (i.e. Facebook, Reddit, YouTube...you get the idea), then you DEFINITELY have 3 minutes (actually, 2 minutes and 53 seconds) to watch this!  Bravo to Carnegie Hall and all my friends at Ensemble ACJW for spicing up the lives of these 40 New York City second graders!  Get ready to dance.

What happens when you invite 40 New York City second graders to a surprise concert at Carnegie Hall? Celebrating 125 years, and the audience of tomorrow: http://www.carnegiehall.org/125

Living the Classical Life

I have been watching a new film series called Living the Classical Life which is wonderfully hosted by pianist and journalist Zsolt Bognár, and I'm a big fan.  Episode 27 was released earlier last week and it features one of my favorite people: the multi-talented, award-winning cellist of the Cavani String Quartet, teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, director of the Perlman Music Program's Chamber Music Workshop, host of a radio talk show, comedian, and overall an A+ of a human being...(wait for it)...Merry Peckham!  Merry has been a longtime mentor and is the one who made me fall in love with Chamber Music (yes, that deserves capitals) when I was a young and curious cellist of 12 attending the utopia of music festivals, the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island, NY.  She opened up a whole new world of music to me and all of my childhood camp mates with her energetic spirit, and revealed how fun, dramatic, intimate, beautiful, hilarious, and expressive playing chamber music could be.  This interview captures her perfectly and is a beautifully honest look into her tremendous contribution to the world.  Watch it, you will love it.

Merry Peckham is a founding member of the Cavani String Quartet, winner of numerous awards and prizes including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award. She has toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and won the overall string category as well as the cello division of the National Federation of Music Clubs Competition. Ms. Peckham and her colleagues in The Cavani Quartet were named Musical America’s Young Artists of the Year, received the ASCAP-Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, the Guarneri String Quartet Residency Award, the Ohio Governor’s Award and five Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Grants. Ms. Peckham is Assistant Director of The Perlman Music Program, Director of The Chamber Music Workshop @ The Perlman Music Program and is on the cello and chamber music faculties at The Cleveland Institute of Music. She is also host of the radio program Offbeat which is aired weekly on WCLV, 104.9 FM.

Craft

Neely Wang Photography + Design

Neely Wang Photography + Design

Neely Wang Photography + Design

Photography: Jeremy Raff 

I happened upon this series called 'Raw Craft'.  It is a collaboration between Balvenie whiskey distillery and Anthony Bourdain, chef and writer whose journalistic work about food and its gateway to culture and politics I enjoy following.  It's an online film series documenting the remarkable stories of true craftsmen, people who make amazing things from scratch, by hand, stich-by-stich, and with boundless amounts of passion to make something good.  Real Good.  Doing it the best way it's done and making it right.  Capiche?  

The term 'good' seems to have lost its significance of meaning because of the overuse of other terminology.  But Bourdain makes us re-examine the term as he travels throughout the States to meet one-of-a-kind cast-iron skillet makers, a saxophone designer / repair specialist, a master blade smith, a suit tailor, and master book maker.  They all toil over their craft, go back to the drawing board everyday to get it just right, and do it so artfully - it's a beautiful thing.  It is a reminder of how important it is to pursue excellence and quality in what we do, and it's profound effect on us as artists and the people around us.  The entire series is great, but the episode I'm posting below features the master typographers and printers of Arion Press, one of the last of its kind in the United States.  For many of us, looking for information on our smart devices happens with such subconscious ease.  Google is inherently faster than reaching for a book.  And while watching this, I realized how unaware I was about how artfully books are made and the stories they often have behind the one printed on its pages.  At the end of each episode, there's a happy toast with Balvenie whiskey which seems like perfect product placement, but hey, they are the ones who made the series and who doesn't like a toast to whiskey?

Admittedly, I have been a part of my generation's technological obsession.  I've gone through my fair share of iPads, tablets, smart phones and for a short while, stopped buying books.  I even transferred all my scores to my iPad.  But there was a two year period, from 2012-2014, where I gave up on smart technology altogether went back to connecting with the real thing.  Weirdly, I found myself appreciating the slightly faded etchings of old pencil and eraser marks or written in side notes because it was a stamp of a time and place.  Pressing 'delete' never left a trace.

I've since then reconnected with technology in all its Instagram and FaceTime glory.  I'm not knocking it.  But watching this episode reveals how beautiful a craft such as book making (or any of those skills featured on the series) can be.  The tedious process carefully pieced together.  Any musician or artist will know what that's like, pouring countless hours into a work or concert program, toiling over the same phrase or passage, shaping and coloring our sound to get closer to the expression we want, and getting frustrated throughout the process.  And when you think you've 'got it' and come to a point where it feels good, it's only a matter of time before you discover there's so much further to go.  It's why you get up the next morning to do it all over again.  What's your craft?

Anthony Bourdain & The Balvenie head to San Francisco, California to meet with Andrew Hoyem, master typographer and printer of Arion Press. One of the last of its kind, Arion Press has only a handful of members on its staff, all fellow craftsmen dedicated to this age old process.

Part One of 'The Schubert Collection' is Released!

After many months of exploration, experimentation, contemplating whether it was a good idea followed by multiple trips going back-and-forth to the drawing board, I'm pleased to share with you 'Part One: The Arpeggione Sonata' of my project, The Schubert Collection.  Recorded live at Studio Haas Teichen of the Queen Elisabeth Chapelle's brand new de Launoit Wing, this has been a labour of love and I look forward to sharing Part Two in 2016.

'Bach in Church' in Burlington, VT

I spent ten wonderful days in Burlington, Vermont at the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival at the end of August.  It was my first time there and I was moved by the generosity of the festival, all the artists and staff, and the entire Vermont community surrounding it.  I had a particularly special experience performing the Third and Fifth Bach Suites for Solo Cello to a packed audience at St. Paul's Church in downtown Burlington. 

I had been wanting to perform these two Suites on one program not only for their parallel relationship (the Third Suite is in C-major and the Fifth, in C-minor) but because these two works have been a subject of exploration and re-exploration over the past three years.  I made several extended trips to Amsterdam to play these Suites for renowned Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma last year and the year before, and he certainly had a huge influence on how I listened to and approached them.  There are obvious challenges of physical endurance and mental concentration as the Fifth Suite is played scordatura (the technique of altering the normal tuning of a stringed instrument to give a particular effect. In this case, tuning the A string down to a G which creates a deeper resonance) and the normal fingering positions naturally shift as well.  But it was the musical continuity throughout each movement of one suite and keeping it alive throughout the next, which took the most energy.  It made me think how pianists are so much more acclimated to playing solo works because they are, so much of the time, playing by themselves.  But it also made me aware of how stirring that vulnerability can be when you have an audience equally focused and eager to go through that experience with you.  I could feel how meditative the atmosphere was during the Sarabande of the Fifth Suite and could hear them exhale after the last running flourish of the Courante of the Third Suite.  I also remember hearing sirens from nearby firetrucks driving by just as I was beginning the fugue of the Fifth Suite's Prelude and they happened to be a half or semi-tone below the pitches I was playing...a very interesting cacophony of sounds which I'm thankful did not throw me off that afternoon!

Below is a beautiful essay of photos captured by Dana Govett.  If you're curious, you can see even larger collection of photographs on the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival's website.  Just click here.  

 

#TBT : US Mission to the European Union

Today's #ThrowbackThursday is from June 17, 2015 when I had the honor of being a cultural ambassador to the United States and performed at the Belgian residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Anthony L. Gardner.  There are not many occasions when musicians and artists come in contact with the world's most influential leaders, but that evening, my entire audience was made of up members of the EU Commission, European Parliament, and EU Council.  I was very humbled to be in their presence and as an American artist, thrilled to have performed and offered music as my contribution to their Mission to the European Union! 

From left to right:  Mrs. Alessandra Mac Crohon Gardner, cellist Deborah Pae, Ambassador Anthony L. Gardner, and pianist Dana Protopopescu

This will make you smile...

This article and video have been roaming around Facebook and other social media platforms.  

And for good reason.  

I was so touched by the effort made by the New York City Ballet to fulfill a mother's request for her daughter with special needs.  If you want to smile and be reminded of how meaningful art can be, watch the video below (brought to you by Upworthy) and share it with everyone around you.  This is why I love New York and I couldn't be prouder to have grown up within the same walls!

When she reached out to the New York City Ballet about a dance program for children with special needs, she didn't expect a response. But what resulted is nothing short of sheer joy. For everyone. What they created became one of the few places these children were able to move freely without their usual braces and connect to their bodies outside of doctor's offices.

To read the full article by the San Francisco Globe, click here