Posted August 14, 2019
I had the joy of spending last week in the North Shore of Massachusetts as part of Manchester Summer Chamber Music. It is always a joy to participate in this festival, which takes place over three weeks in August annually in Ipswich and Manchester-by-the-Sea. We performed a piano quartet program twice last week featuring the Brahms G Minor Quartet, the Strauss C Minor Quartet, and “Thousandth Orange,” by Caroline Shaw.
Here is the live recording of Thousandth Orange from August 9, 2019, featuring Ryo Yanagitani, piano, Henry Wang, violin, Jiaoyang Xu, cello, and myself on viola. Enjoy!
P.S. – If Caroline’s chord progression used here sounds familiar (E minor – A minor – D major – G major), perhaps you’ve been listening to this pop ditty too much…
Posted July 2, 2019
I’m excited to announce the first annual Viola Day @ UA! This will take place in the Moody Music Building on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, September 14 from 9 am – 6 pm. Admission is free to all violists ages 12 + who wish to participate, but do register here by September 7.
Seriously: go ahead and register.
For this event, I’m excited to bring two excellent guest artists and teachers to campus: Andrea Houde and Jennifer Puckett. We will offer master classes, an orchestral excerpt class, all-state audition prep, group ensemble, topics classes, a panel discussion, and a final concert involving all violists. If you are in the vicinity, please join us for Viola Day @ UA!
Posted January 25, 2019
I posted a new video from last night’s faculty recital at UA under the ‘Listen and Watch’ tab. It is a piece that is near and dear to me – “Limestone and Felt” by the brilliant Caroline Shaw. Caroline and I go way back – we were playing string quartets by day and recording strange Knob Creek-fueled Christmas carols by night in New Haven back in 2006-7 – and now, ho-hum, she’s a Pulitzer-prize winner.
But that’s not all! The other violist on stage with me is my lovely and talented wife, Shannon McCue. We have been looking for an opportunity to collaborate on something like this, and Caroline’s playful and exuberant piece felt like the perfect match. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it came together. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed playing it!
Posted January 4, 2018
I hope to return to posting here more regularly in 2018. I have let it lapse due to the excuse of being busy, but the reality is that I am busy with things that should be posted about on this site!
2018 promises to be a busy and fulfilling year. The spring semester begins at Alabama on January 10, and the viola studio hits the ground running with a visit from none other than Carol Rodland! Carol will lead a masterclass, talk to us about her impressive project “If Music Be the Food…,” and perform an organ-viola recital with her sister, organist Catherine Rodland as the Rodland Duo. It is a tremendous thrill to host a viola pedagogue of Carol’s caliber in Tuscaloosa!
I am preparing to present at the ASTA Conference in March, and I have been busy helping organize the schedule and logistics for the American Viola Society Festival in LA this June, which will be held in tandem with the 2018 Primrose Competition. Hopefully the topics and pieces to be presented in LA will be posted on the AVS site soon: there promises to be some very exciting and original content there!
There are other big projects in the works, including the world premiere of a new viola work by William Bolcom slated to happen at Merkin Hall in April (details TBA). I am also thrilled to be joining the faculty of the Brevard Music Center this summer!
But as exciting as all of this is (and as much as it looks daunting when it is all written down), it all pales in comparison to the fact that any day now, I will become a father for the first time. My wife Shannon is due to deliver our baby boy, and we are preparing for our lives as we know them to be turned upside-down. So as much as I hope to post regularly here in the new year, I know every parent reading this is snickering at such a claim. Wish me luck!
Posted October 22, 2017
I had a terrific experience performing with Maestro Blake Richardson and the excellent student musicians of UA’s Huxford Symphony Orchestra this past Wednesday night. It was a rare opportunity to perform Hindemith’s masterpiece “Der Schwanendreher” with orchestra. This piece is such a treat to play with orchestra because of the unique chamber orchestration Hindemith wrote – hence why it appears like a chamber ensemble (with no violins or violas) behind me. I hope to have video from the performance to share on the site shortly!
Posted December 21, 2015
I am delighted to report that my featured article, “What’s in a Name? Ladislav Vycpalek and His Suite for Solo Viola, op. 21” has just been published in the Fall 2015 of the Journal of the American Viola Society. I hope this article will help draw attention to this unheralded work and this interesting composer.
Here’s a link to the article in pdf form: javsarticle
Posted March 28, 2015
It has been a hectic few weeks, with many wonderful concerts and travels to all parts of the country. I feel very lucky to have so many opportunities, but am also grateful to be able to catch my breath.
The most exciting piece of news is that I have accepted the appointment of Assistant Professor of Viola at the University of Alabama School of Music in Tuscaloosa. This is truly an honor, and a very exciting opportunity! I look forward to working with the students and faculty in Tuscaloosa, and will be on campus starting in August. I am thrilled for this opportunity to recruit and develop a great viola studio at UA.
So…I guess I’m supposed to tell the tide to roll? Something? I’m sure I’ll learn.
Posted February 21, 2015
A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have already donated generously to my indie-gogo campaign. Because of your support, we are already over halfway to the funding goal, with two weeks left!
To give the backstory, the tracks have been meticulously recorded and edited at the highest professional level. An independent label is ready and interested to release the album, but needs funding assistance to produce and distribute it. This is the remaining money we are crowd-funding for. Once we have this funding, the album’s release will only be a matter of time!
So in case you didn’t think it is noticed, your donation makes a HUGE impact on realizing this project – which I cannot wait to share with everyone!
Posted February 3, 2015
As promised, today is the launch of my indie-gogo campaign. The tracks recorded last year sound awesome, and offer original never-before-recorded repertoire to violists and music lovers everywhere. We have an interested label, but need to raise a few more shekels to get it published and distributed.
Please consider helping us achieve this goal – even the smallest donation makes a huge impact!
Thank you for your support – here’s the link again in case you missed it.
Posted February 2, 2015
After a brief hiatus and minor technical hiccups, I have updated the site to include announced upcoming concert events in March – performances with Opera Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Symphony, Trio 248, and Camerata Pacifica highlight what is sure to be a busy month!
In the coming days I will launch an indie-gogo campaign to help raise the remaining funds needed to publish and distribute my album of Czech music. Centaur Records is ready to produce it, and we are almost there with the money, but we could use your support!
Lastly, keep an eye out for my first published article on Vycpálek’s Viola Suite in the Journal of the American Viola Society Fall 2015 issue.
Back to practicing…