Archive for January, 2024

Music I Am #47 – Marti Epstein- composer, pianist, absent-minded professor

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

More precisely, the moment I knew I that I AM a musician (whether I want to be or not) was when I was 4 and figured out how to play Hava Nagila on the piano. The moment I knew I was a composer was when my band director in high school, Dr. Steven Lawrence had me arrange something for the marching band. As soon as I heard what I had written played by the performers, I was hooked.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Being kind and respectful to performers and colleagues.

Two ways you stay motivated:

I live in terror of missing a deadline. And, I live to create music.

Latest Project:

I am writing a motet for Emmanuel Music, and then I will be writing a piece for the Kozar/Byrne Duo.






What inspired it:

The motet is inspired by the Bach Cantata it is being paired with (Cantata 94) as well as the sentiment expressed by Psalm 133 (“Hine Ma Tov Umanayim”- how good it is for all to live together under one tent).

Who’s on it:

The singers of Emmanuel Music.

How do you discover new music?

Scorefollower, music reviews, things my students tell me about, things my kid tell me about.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

  • Dead Musician: Toru Takemitsu. His orchestral music should be on every major orchestra’s programming list and it isn’t.
  • Living Musician: Bryn Harrison. Brilliant, brilliant English composer.

Where can we find you online?; soundcloud; Facebook; Instagram; bandcamp

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

Emmanuel premiere is February 25th, but I also have a premiere of a piece I wrote for 8 cellos coming up this spring. Not sure of that date yet!

M. Epstein photos by ©️2023 Michael D Spencer

Now Musique – Rafael Popper-Keizer – CANCELED

May be an image of 6 people and text that says 'Now Musique CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS Nostalgic Quietude Music of those who left home Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello Now Musique (b. 2019-) Exploring the New and Neglected Aaron Larget-Caplan, Artistic Director Hilary Tann FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2024 7:30PM First Church Boston 66 Marlborough Street Boston, MA 02116 Ernest Bloch J.S Bach Pablo Casals Ralf Gawlick Léon Mouravieff'


Due to illness, not related to Covid, the concert to be rescheduled for a later date in 2024. All tickets are being refunded.

Sign up for our mailing list to stay up to date:


Now Musique presents acclaimed cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer a rare solo recital of reflection, quietude and comfort.

The concert, Nostalgic Quietude, begins at 7:30pm on Friday January 19, at the beautiful First Church Boston, 66 Marlboro Street. Seating is general admission. TICKETS

On the recital Rafael Popper-Keizer writes, “For the depths of midwinter, I wanted to present a program that offers space for reflection, quietude, and comfort. The underlying theme is one of nostalgia; the five composers represented on the first half are all artists who left their homeland (Wales, Ukraine, Germany, Switzerland, Catalonia) but whose music continued to deeply express the culture and ethos of their respective places of birth. The Bach that closes the program represents a more personal sort of nostalgia: in the most introspective and melancholic of his cello suites, Bach draws us into the depths of our own inner worlds and holds us there firmly for six profound moments in time.”

“Rafi is well known for his artistic excellence in the music community,” says Now Musique Artistic Director Aaron Larget-Caplan, “but he is rarely heard is such a setting. As a student at the New England Conservatory, I was very lucky to experience his solo playing when he was an Artist Diploma, so we are extremely happy to be able to present such an artist as Rafael Popper-Keizer to the wider public.

Tickets are $20 through Eventbrite or at the door, General Seating
Now Musique Website:


  • The Cresset Stone – Hilary Tann (1947-2023)
  • Ballade – Léon Mouravieff (1905-1987)
  • Liebesleid – Ralf Gawlick (b. 1969)
  • Suite #3 for unaccompanied cello in a minor – Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
  • El cant dels ocells – Traditional/Casals
  • Suite #5 for unaccompanied cello in c minor – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Founded in 2019 by guitarist and composer Aaron Larget-Caplan, Now Musique is a new music series celebrating the recital format of new and often neglected solo and ensemble music with outstanding international artists. Committed to a bringing music into communities, the 2022 season saw five formal concerts featuring 30 living composers, and four more all-ages programs in Dorchester.

Hailed by The New York Times as “imaginative and eloquent” and dubbed “a local hero” by the Boston Globe, cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer maintains a vibrant and diverse career as one of Boston’s most celebrated artists. He is principal cellist of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and a core member of many notable chamber music organizations throughout New England, including the Chameleon Arts Ensemble, A Far Cry, Winsor Music, and Monadnock Music. His 2003 performance with the Boston Philharmonic of the Saint-Saëns Concerto in A minor was praised by the Globe for “melodic phrasing of melting tenderness” and “dazzling dispatch of every bravura challenge;” more recent solo appearances include Strauss’ Don Quixote, with the Boston Philharmonic; Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, with Emmanuel Music; and the North American premiere of Roger Reynolds’ Thoughts, Places, Dreams, with Sound/Icon.

Mr. Popper-Keizer has been featured on close to two dozen recordings, including the premieres of Robert Erickson’s Fantasy for Cello and Orchestra, Thomas Oboe Lee’s cello concerto Eurydice, Yehudi Wyner’s De Novo for cello and small chamber ensemble, Malcolm Peyton’s unaccompanied Cello Piece, Concert Champêtre by Thomas L. Read for guitar and cello with Aaron Larget-Caplan, and major unaccompanied works by Kodaly and Gawlick.and major unaccompanied works by Kodaly and Gawlick.

As an alumnus of the New England Conservatory, Mr. Popper-Keizer studied with master pedagogue and Piatigorsky protégé Laurence Lesser; at the Tanglewood Music Center he was privileged to work with Mstislav Rostropovich, and was Yo-Yo Ma’s understudy for Strauss’ Don Quixote under the direction of Seiji Ozawa. His prior teachers include Stephen Harrison, at Stanford University, and Karen Andrie, at the University of California at Santa Cruz.


Now Musique presents Nostalgic Quietude – Music of those who left home with Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello
Composers: Hilary Tann, Léon Mouravieff, Ralf Gawlick, Ernest Bloch, Casals, and Bach
When: Friday January 19 at 7:30pm, Doors open at 7pm
Admission: $20
Location: First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston 02116
FB Event:

New Publication – God’s Time by J.S. Bach, BWV 106

Aaron’s arrangement of Bach’s ‘God’s Time Is The Very Best Time, BWV 106’ is now available for download!
Featured as the title track to Aaron’s 2022 All-Bach album, ‘God’s Time is the Very Best Time’ BWV 106, is a beautiful and solemn solo and of my favorite compositions by Bach.
It has a very personal connection to pianist Seymour Bernstein, for whom Aaron was studying with at the time. “Seymour performed it for me and asked me to arrange it for guitar. I knew it would be title track of a future album.”
Arranged for moderate level and above players, the solo is written in Drop D (E string 6 tuned down to D). The arrangement includes a brief history of the work, performance notes, and ornament realization.

Listen to ‘God’s Time is the Very Best Time’ BWV 106:

SpotifyBandcamp (CD) • Apple MusicAmazon Music


Music I Am #46 – Aliana de la Guardia, a holistic life and career consultant for creatives, a non-profit arts leader, a theater artist, a producer, a teacher, Jedi, and warrior for artistic misfits

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

When I first started taking voice lessons, it was the only thing I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to sing forever.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Writing and thinking. These two skills are so important to learn. I have always had a really rich journaling practice, and having the skill of reflection through writing has gotten me through some difficult times in my life and helped me expand ideas of who I am in the world, in music, and in the greater arts landscape. 

I certainly helps with grant writing and appeals for fundraising, but beyond that, it’s so important to come up with your own language for your art – what exactly it is that you do, why you do it, and what difference it makes in the world. 

The ability to ask questions and reflect on successes and failures allows you to hone your craft in a different way. I wish it didn’t take me 20 years to learn this, but now that I have these skills (and still improving), I’m a much better executive and artist.

Two ways you stay motivated:

  1. Stay involved with or start projects that are meaningful to me 
  2. Have hobbies that are not related to my professional career.

Latest Project:

My project, Bahué, has launched the second annual Latinx Composer Miniature Challenge (LCMC 2.0), which we envisioned as a sister project to the Castle of our Skins’ Black Composer Miniature Challenge. The Bahué #LCMC 2.0 asks composers who identify as Latin American or part of the Latin Diaspora to compose pieces for me and percussionist Ariel Campos that must be 30 seconds or so. We love for pieces to be inspired by themes of Latinidad, but it’s not required!

Pieces are due February 18, 2023 and early submissions are welcome and encouraged! We will record the works in June 2024 and broadcast the performances on social media and YouTube starting September 2024 (Hispanic Heritage Month). There is no cost to enter and the composers of all chosen works will be compensated.

What inspired it:

I felt alone when I first started searching for representation in concert repertoire and it felt like my interest in connecting to my culture through music was seen as a novelty because it was outside of the traditional repertoire. So this was always an interest and in my mind, but with Bahué and with Ariel, I figured out how to blend this interest with my passion for working with composers and with new music. We all need a space where we are not a novelty. Where we can celebrate new voices in our culture as well as the musical heritage that shapes us.

Who’s on it:

My duo partner, percussionist Ariel Campos, and any composers that want to apply!

How do you discover new music?

Through chorale in my undergrad, actually! I also became friends with a composer who asked me to sing his music more. Soo after, more composers started asking me to sing their music, and beyond that, I started looking for more composers on my own, and the rest is history! 

I still do that to this day. I go through periods where I’m Google Searching through websites and YouTube. Sometimes I’m going through lists to see if composers have specific instrumentation, sometimes I’m just listening to vocal works.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

I don’t know that I can answer this question. I’m not the kind that fans out on one person and there are so many amazing musicians in the world.

Where can we find you online?

Everywhere, but you can use to follow me on social media, sign up for my quarterly newsletter, and see what I have going on.

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

Guerilla Opera has an artist networking event! It’s virtual and free, so anyone and everyone who has something to share is welcome to join us! And, of course, if you’re a composer of the Latin diaspora I hope you’ll submit to the Latinx Composer Miniature Challenge (LCMC 2.0).

New Year, New Connections: Virtual Happy Hour for Artists!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 7:00 PM ET

More Info:

Sign Up: 

photo by Tyler Hubby

photo by Tyler Hubby

Heretic – a micro-opera at Salem State

Guitarist and composer Aaron Larget-Caplan returns to Salem State University for a special one-night-only concert. TICKETS & INFO

The concert, Altered Worlds, begins with Larget-Caplan’s arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C Major, WTC I, BWV 846 partnered with Vineet Shende’s (Bowdoin College) Carnatic Prelude N. 1, After J.S. Bach, a re-imagining of the prior as if Bach were from South India. The monumental Legend of Hagoromo by Keigo Fujii explores mystical transformation through the 13th century myth, followed by John Cage’s serene In A Landscape, arranged by Larget-Caplan.

The evening concludes with the theatrical performance and US premiere of Heretic, a micro-opera for guitarist by Richard Cameron-Wolfe. Inspired by Arthur Machen’s haunting 1907 novel The Hill of Dreams, this realization is a multi-media event in collaboration with Salem State University theatre faculty Jerry Johnson and Aaron Larget-Caplan.

“As an artist, I try to push myself into new areas,” said Larget-Caplan, “and Heretic does that very well! Not just because I must sing, act, speak, and play a technically extremely difficult piece, but that each element is to be approached from the theatrical side as well. Collaborating with the theater director Jerry Johnson has enlivened the experience. I’m extremely excited!”

Born Arthur Llewelyn Jones in 1863, Arthur Machen became one of the most influential writers of his generation. He drew on the dark landscapes of his childhood in Wales, together with his adult life in bohemian fin-de-siécle London, to create magical and disturbing tales. His admirers include Stephen King, and H. P. Lovecraft, who described him as one of the four ‘modern masters of the horror story’.

Larget-Caplan will perform Heretic in April 2024 at Symphony Space in New York, Bowdoin College in Maine, and Tufts University in Medford.

Altered Worlds promises to be a new and wonderful adventures for music and theatre lovers!

Richard Cameron-Wolfe, Composer

Profile photo of J. L. Johnson

Jerry Johnson, Director

Prelude N. 1 in C Major, BWV 846* – J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
Carnatic Prelude N. 1, After J.S. Bach* (2017) – Vineet Shende (b.1972)
The Legend of Hagoromo (1992) – Keigo Fujii (b.1956)
In A Landscape* (1948) – John Cage (1912-1992)
Heretic (2022) – Richard Cameron-Wolfe (b.1943)

*Written for or arranged by Aaron Larget-Caplan


Friday January 26 • 7:30pm
Salem State University in conjunction with the Music and Theater departments presents Aaron Larget-Caplan in Altered World, a solo program exploring transformation.
J.S. Bach, Vineet Shende, Keigo Fujii, John Cage, and the US premiere of Heretic – a micro opera by Richard Cameron-Wolfe – directed by Jerry Johnson (SSU Theater Faculty).
Information and Tickets: HERE ($10-15)
Callan Studio Theatre, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA 01970 (MAP)
Program Notes for the concert:


Prelude No. 1 in C Major, WTC Book 1, BWV 846* by J.S. Bach

The first prelude in The Well-Tempered Clavier comprises a simple arpeggio figure; the dramatic tension only builds through harmonic change. While a moment in time, the arpeggio feels eternal. Gounod based his ‘Ave Maria’ on this prelude. I raise the octave of the last measures for an ethereal conclusion. Recorded on Aaron’s 2022 album ‘God’s Time: Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar (Tiger Turn) SPOTIFY

Carnatic Prelude N. 1, After J.S, Bach* (2017) by Vineet Shende

Vineet Shende and Aaron

A measure for measure re-imagination of Bach’s Prelude N. 1 in C-Major, WTC I, BWV 846 as if Bach were from South India. A fusion of the Eastern melodic and rhythmic traditions of Carnatic music (raga – scale, taal – rhythmic cycle) and Western harmonic traditions.

Carnatic music does not use harmony as the western tradition, so Shende uses rhythmic flourishes to denote a cadence or phrase ending. The project will continue for a total of 12 Carnatic Preludes by Shende being paired with Larget-Caplan’s arrangements of the original Bach keyboard works for guitar.

The legend of Hagoromo (1992) by Keigo Fujii

Found in variation throughout Asia, the Hagoromo legend describes a young fisherman falling in love with a heavenly maiden who can fly when she wears her magical feathered kimono (Hagoromo). Wanting to prevent her from leaving him, he steals and hides her Hagoromo while she bathes under the autumn full moon. After a time, and unable to go home to the immortal world, she returns his love and they have a child together. While walking her young son, the boy sings a lullaby whose words describe where the Hagoromo is hidden. Donning it and robed in the blue of heaven she ascends again! But she cries in sadness, for she cannot bring her husband and son along. Lovesick and lonely as well, her husband plants the seed of a moonflower for her, and as her tears water it from the world above it grows into the heavens allowing the fisherman to climb up and join her; her tears becoming a rainbow. B

ased on a 16-bar song in the traditional Okinawan mode by Hiroshi Yamanoha (d.1991) about the Hagoromo legend, Keigo Fujii does not adhere strictly to the mode and incorporates many extended techniques and effects to create one of the 20th century’s great masterpieces. Recorded on Aaron’s 2013 album ‘The Legend of Hagoromo’ (Stone Records). SPOTIFY

In A Landscape* (1948) by John Cage, Arr. A. Larget-Caplan

Through composed, the composition can be divided into three parts by the repetition of the opening melodic figure and arpeggio. Choreographer Louise Lippold conceived of the 15 x 15 measures (5-7-3) rhythmic structure.

The work travels the length of the guitar and requires extensive use of campanella, natural and artificial harmonics, tambura, and peaceful control. The arrangement required multiple register adjustments, but no note changes. The most daunting of my Cage arrangements due to extended fixed gamut of tones and the use of two voices that need to resonate throughout, it is also the most lyrical of the mid-period works where one can hear the lines so reminiscent of Satie. I met Cage in Dream, but I fell in love with Cage through In A Landscape. Recorded on Aaron’s 2018 album ‘John. Cage. Guitar.’ (Stone Records) SPOTIFY

Heretic* (1994/2017/2022) by Richard Cameron-Wolfe

This Heretic speaks the unspeakable, thinks the unthinkable, and plays the unplayable. At the outset, Orthodoxy tries to stop him from speaking his first word.

At last, the Heretic addresses us, with “I want to tell you what’s going on here”, but immediately has second thoughts: “You don’t want to know.” He then moves uncomfortably close to the audience and, in a Mephistophelian tone, asks for our “trust”. Then, calmly and conversationally, he refers to Arthur Machen’s book The Hill of Dreams – its contents perhaps holding a key to the nature of the Heretic’s mental state (unreality/alienation). After a robotic, manic, minimalist rant, the Heretic abruptly begins to leave, pauses, and reluctantly returns, apparently to become simply a guitarist.

An extended, abstract, contrapuntal passage follows, punctuated however with comments from the Heretic – alternately introspective and communicative, about beauty, perfection, and art. But the Heretic is, as we suspected, quite mad, regretting this encounter. He pushes us away, turning inward – and we are released, liberated. This performance is the U.S. Premiere.

Heretic will be performed at Bowdoin College (April 6) Symphony Space in NYC (April 20), and Tufts University (April 26).

Larget-Caplan’s arrangements of John Cage’s piano music published by Edition Peters

Music I Am #45 – David Claman, Composer

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

It was a gradual process. When I was young I was involved with music as a player and listener, but intended to become a painter. I didn’t begin writing music until my late 20s. I took a composition class almost as a lark, and quickly realized that composing would bring together the creative energy I experienced making visual art with the intensity and enjoyment I felt while playing and listening to music.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Be supportive of your musician friends and their activities.

Two ways you stay motivated:

I like to “begin again” by doing basic things like tuning my guitar slowly and carefully by ear, with no goal other than hearing the timbres and consonances. Or playing scales, not as “warm up” but in order to feel my hands on the piano keys and experience the qualities of each note when the keys are depressed. 2) I’ll give myself a future goal, like scheduling a concert or booking a recording session.

Latest Project:

I completed a set of art songs for Matthew Curran, bass, accompanied by John McDonald, piano. We premiered them in December in New York and will perform them in Boston in 2024. Tony De Ritis is part of this project too, contributing songs he composed for tenor Greg Zavracky. After a few performances we plan to record an album together.







What inspired it:

The fine musicians I’ve worked with for years, and the wonderful poetry I set by poets Richard Tillinghast, John Haines, and Robert Francis.

Who’s on it:

Matthew Curran, bass voice, and John McDonald, piano.

How do you discover new music?

I get suggestions from friends and find music on Youtube and Spotify.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497) is an extraordinary composer, known mostly to fans of early music and mentioned in music history classes. Fortunately, opportunities to hearing his music in concert are becoming more common.

Andrew Rangell is a wonderful pianist with a broad and varied catalog. His recording of the Bach Partitas on the Steinway label are refreshing, sensitive, and probing, and my favorite recordings of these pieces.

Where can we find you online?

I have a website and a YouTube channel, and Spotify 

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

In January and February 2024, I’ll be in India collaborating and recording with Hindustani musician friends in New Delhi. Recordings and videos of the sessions will be released in the summer of 2024.

2024 Concert Preview!

Upcoming Concerts!

  • Friday Jan. 19 – cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer guest artist on the recital series Now Musique, Directed by Aaron Larget-Caplan. INFO

Aaron Larget-Caplan Performs:

  • Friday Jan. 26 – Salem State University, Altered Worlds – recital and US premiere of Heretic, a micro-opera by Richard Cameron-Wolfe for solo guitarist. INFO
  • Feb. 29 – Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma, Concert+Class. INFO
  • March 1 – Spanish Gems – New Album on Tiger Turn (Aaron’s 11th album!)
  • March 10 – Astoria, Oregon
  • March 19 – King’s Chapel, Boston
  • March 28 – Tufts University, Mass, Late-Night Concert featuring the New Lullaby Project
  • April 6 – Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, Residency+Concert – Heretic
  • April 7 – Camden, Maine
  • April 20 – Symphony Space, New York INFO – Heretic
  • April 26 – Tufts University Residency+Concert – Heretic
  • May 4-5 – Bowdoin College, Choir+Guitar, Pravasa – Travels of the Guitar by Vineet Shende

Complete Concert Information:
*more concerts are being added

God’s Time – Best of 2023!

Honored to have ‘God’s Time: Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar’ chosen as one of the Best Albums of 2023 by The Arts Fuse!

Arts Feature: Top Classical Recordings and Concerts of 2023

Read the whole article by clicking above!

Review – Spanish Candy in Take Effect

Listen to Spanish Candy

This 10th solo album from the esteemed guitarist and composer Aaron Larget-Caplan offers us Spanish and flamenco selections where he showcases his inimitable spin via the rich and mesmerizing playing.

The warm and cultured “Two Pieces”, by Isaac Albéniz, opens the listen with much charm and grace, and Esteban de Sanlúcar’s “Mantilla de Feria” follows with a more firm approach of meticulous and agile finger acrobatics.

The middle tracks belong to the swift and melodic gestures of Francisco Tárrega’s “Five Pieces”, while Albéniz’’s “Granada” finds a more intimate place to reside with its soothing and harmonic patterns.

The final track, “Espana Cani”, by Pascual Marquina” is just as intricate, where Larget-Caplan’s playful techniques touche on Spanish ideas with profound skill.

This is Larget-Caplan’s 4th time working with the multi-Grammy winner Kabir Sehgal, who helps illuminate these time honored Spanish pieces that again solidify Larget-Caplan as one of today’s most luminous guitarists.

Travels well with: Aaron Larget-CaplanHoney Cadence; Reza KhanImaginary Road

Spanish Candy • Tiger Turn, 2023


Visit Take Effect by clicking on the image.