Archive for the ‘Chamber Music’ Category

2023 Year in Review – Adventure in Music

I am grateful for the many people who have made this year so special. At times I felt like 2023 was a normal year of music making and collaboration, and then I would be reminded that our recent past is very much with us and that the world is very fragile. 

I consider 2023 to be Adventure in Music year, and I think we have earned a bit of rest and a special cappuccino or affogato (see below) to commemorate the beauty that can exist in the world, if we so desire it.

Onward for a wonderful, safe, and healthy 2024, and thanks to all who have listened, enjoyed, and explored music with me in 2023!

Aaron

Collaborators:

  • Christopher Bush, clarinet
  • Johnathan McCullough, baritone
  • Frederic Jodry III, harpsichord
  • Robert Lehman, violin
  • Kimberly Lehman, viola
  • Rebecca Hartka, cello
  • Jeff Christmas, conductor with the Bowdoin Chamber Choir
  • Charles Coe, poet
  • Kabir Sehgal, Tiger Turn
  • Alex Fedorov, design
  • Steve Hunt, mixing and mastering
  • Gina Genova, Will Rowe, and Simon Henry Berry, American Composers Alliance
  • Gene Caprioglio, Edition Peters
  • Steve Schwartz, Your Heaven Audio
  • Michael Newman, Mannes School of Music
  • João Luiz, Hunter College
  • Tali Roth, Juilliard
  • Nick Morgan, TEDx

Premieres:

  • Alan Hovhaness – Mystic Flute, Op. 29arranged by ALC, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA, February 2023 (US premiere)
  • Daniel Felsenfeld – Only Winter Certainties on Bargemusic, Brooklyn, New York, April 2023 (info)
  • Sam Cave – …in the soft dark welling… at the Smith Center for the Arts, Providence College, September 2023
  • Nicolás Lell Benavides – Rinconcito for guitar & string trio, University of Southern Maine, December 2023 (info)

New Album & Recordings

  • Spanish Candy – May 26, 2023 on Tiger Turn (888-10) (info)
  • Berceuse Inquiète by Ronald Pearl, for the New Lullaby Project, live at Providence College (listen)

Album Reviews

Publications:

  • honey cadence – a collection of six meditations by Aaron Larget-Caplan was published by the American Composers Alliance, May 2023 (info)

Publication Review:

Awards: 

  • Paul Revere Award for Graphic Excellence from The Music Publishers Association of the United States presented for Aaron’s arrangement of Bacchanale by John Cage, June 2023 (info)
  • Cultural Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for Now Musique, Feb. 2023
  • Best of 2023 by The Arts Fuse: God’s Time: Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar, Dec. 2023 (info)
  • Reached 6-million streams!

Videos:

  • Spanish Candy intro video (watch)
  • Remembering by Laurie Spiegel, written for the New Lullaby Project (watch)
  • Libertango by Astor Piazzolla, arranged for sextet (watch)
  • Interview with Anthony R. Green (watch
  • Interview with Daniel Felsenfeld (watch)
  • TEDx – moving still by Aaron Larget-Caplan (watch

Instructional Videos:

Interviews:

Classes

Misc.

  • New press photos with photographer Paula Morin (info)
  • TEDx – moving still by Aaron Larget-Caplan (watch

Guitar + String Trio in Maine

I’m very excited to be performing three concerts of music featuring guitar with string trio (violin, viola, cello) with the exemplary musicians Robert Lehmann, Kimberly Lehmann, and Rebecca Hartka.

The program: “Dancing with Ancestors” – Music for Guitar and Strings from Latin America features Latin-American music for guitar and strings that explores the notion of music that dances with the ancestors.

PROGRAM:

  • MANUEL M. PONCE Quartet, for guitar, violin, viola, cello (1946)
  • NICOLÁS LELL BENAVIDES Rinconcito (2018) – Maine premiere
  • ASTOR PIAZZOLLA from Histoire du Tango (1985)
  • Bordello 1900 (guitar/violin)
  • Café 1930 (guitar/viola)
  • Revirado (guitar/cello)
  • ROLAND DYENS Tango En Skai (1985), arranged for quartet
  • ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM Felicidades, Arr. Dyens*
  • ANTONIO CELSO RIBEIRO Vain Lullaby (2021) – Maine premiere*
  • AGUSTIN BARRIOS Una Limosna por El Amor de Dios (1944)*
  • * USM Concert only

CONCERTS:

**Music I Am Interview with Nicolás Lell Benavides: HERE

NOTES (selected): 

Vain Lullaby by Antonio Celso Ribeiro

The piece is inspired by the painting “Resting” done in 1905 by Danish painter Feliz Krämer Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) depicting a woman seated in a chair, gazing at the wall. Her hair is gathered up in a bun and she is wearing a modest black skirt and a dark grey blouse with puffed sleeves and a scooped neck. Her apparel is conservative and humble. In my mind she sings a vain lullaby. She sings a vain lullaby in vain.

Rinconcito by Nicolás Lell Benavides

Rinconcito gets its name from one of my mother’s favorite songs: Rinconcito en el Cielo by Ramón Ayala. As a kid I always loved the idea of there being a little corner of heaven that one could visit with a friend or lover. Of course, as I grew older it dawned on me that the lyrics had a much more adult meaning! However, the image of a secret corner in the sky for friends has never left me. Though I don’t use any of the music from Ayala’s beautiful song, this piece is about ancestors in the way I imagined it as a child.

Rinconcito is about a meeting place for the dead and the living. My Grandpa Garcia, an accordionist who taught me to play rancheras and corridos as a kid, used to tell me that music is the only thing that people in heaven and people on earth share. When I was young, I imagined one could make music with the ancestors in heaven. This work takes elements of traditional New Mexican music but reconfigures them and distills them to the point of sometimes being unrecognizable.

In this piece, you will hear thirds and fourths that alternate both high and low. In my mind, the pure intervals of fourths and fifths are the intervals of the ancestors. Thirds and sixths are the intervals of the living. The piece opens up atmospherically, like an unsteady first contact, before a level of rapport is established and the thirds and fourths intermingle effortlessly. The primary guitar motive is constructed of a third and a fourth together, symbolizing the tangible shared music of heaven and earth. Before long the piece leaps into a fast dance, using common features of Southwestern music, and then the slower, atmospheric music returns, with the ancestors saying goodbye for now.

The work is inspired by my upbringing in New Mexico and my two grandfathers, one of whom passed away recently: Gilbert Benavides (1929-2018) and Eddie Garcia (1933-). They were and are as New Mexican as New Mexican can be and served as a strong cultural connection to the old way of life in the Land of Enchantment. As I have one grandparent left, I’ve become painfully aware of the fragility of our connection to the past and the need to actively maintain it. Each new generation inherits this link, and I hope through music like this to play my part in preserving it. Though I have until now infrequently looked inward toward my own culture for inspiration, I’ve very much enjoyed the process and hope that this is the beginning of a new series of pieces where I explore the theme of what it means to be New Mexican.

A big thank you to Left Coast and Will and Linda Schieber for making this commission possible.

– Nicolas Lell Benavides

2022 Year in Review

2022

slight return

moments of normalcy

new artistic directions

Catching up

Dreams realized

musical Adventures

2022 By the Numbers (see below for expansion):

  • Premieres: 12
  • Concerts: 26 
  • Espresso: 730-750 (~2 per day)
  • Albums: 2 
  • Cassettes: 1 
  • Publications:
  • Collaborations: 8
  • Music with electronics: 2
  • Interviews & Podcasts: 8 
  • Grants: 2 
  • Grants Applied for:
  • Interviews conducted: 5
  • Residencies: 2
  • Classes: 12
  • Streams: 2.5 million
  • Amazing Street Tacos:
  • Pieces performed: 79

I know it’s arbitrary, but I would prefer our calendars marked the New Year in the spring, at least in to the Northern Hemisphere. That said, when I awoke on January 1, 2022 I did not know what to expect. 

My album ‘A Guitar Holiday’ was reaching people via streaming in ways I had never experienced (1-million streams to date!)

I was deep into composing what would become ‘honey cadence.’

A few concerts were on the calendar, but it did not feel like Covid had released us from its terrible grasp.

Coupled with the terror of Jan. 6, I knew I needed to focus on Art and appreciate each moment of living and creating.

I began the process of getting back to performing with classes and a concert at Framingham State University before embarking on my first tour since Covid: California!

APRIL TOUR: San Francisco State University –>Museum of Northern California Art, Chico–> Center For New Music, SF –> CSU Bakersfield –> Cal Poly Pomona –> Guitar Solo International (VIDEOS). SEE California Tour Pictures

While on the tour in California, I received news that I had been awarded a grant from the Boston Mayor’s Office for Arts & Culture to produce a series of 5 contemporary music concerts being held in my neighborhood between August and November under my series Now Musique.

Each concert brought composers to Dorchester for performances of their new lullabies and works for guitar + electronics. Read and see pictures HERE.

Upon returning to Boston, honey cadence, the first album dedicated to my own music was released. Mixed and mastered by the great Steve Hunt, I was not expecting much, as who knew if my music would touch people. Needless to say, I was happily surprised to go quickly through the first printing of CDs, and then see it was picked up on a few streaming playlists and it now has 1 million streams since its release in April!
It is my most popular album, which is a bit surreal. And no, my Mom does not do streaming.

My June concerts in Oregon began with an interview and performance on Thursdays @ Three with Christa Wessel for All Classical Portland before performing two solo programs in Portland for CDZ Musica and another at the wonderful Coaster Theatre Playhouse.

Seeing friends and walking on the beach felt like returning home. 

In June I recorded God’s Time: Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar, which was released in September. Featuring 16 of my own arrangements, it was recorded over 3 days and mixed and mastered by the wonderful Paul Averginos. The reviews have been stellar and I’m extremely proud of the album.

I set out to create a Bach album that was not like every other Bach Guitar album.

Mine would explore pieces not often played on the guitar, create new repertoire (a bit of a habit of mine), and bring a fresh voice to a couple of well known works, and I think I did that.

The responses to God’s Time have been overwhelmingly positive.

With over 300K streams since its release, I can’t wait to do another! Read and watch HERE.

One of the great difficulties of Covid was not being able to collaborate with wonderful musicians. Thankfully I had three performances with harpsichordist Frederick Jodry in Boston, Cape Cod, and Newport. Pianist John Thomas improvised over my own compositions in Provincetown – a first, and I joined Convergence Ensemble in November for three duos, two solos, and two quartets in an exhilarating concert titled Strings Galore. Libby Larsen’s Cajun Set was extra special!

I returned to Southern California in November for a series of classes and concerts. Being amongst friends and musicians for more than a day or two was inspiring extremely inspiring. I worked with students of guitarist-artist Peter Yates at UCLA, collaborated with Tom Flaherty and Buzz Gravelle at Pomona College, performed in La Jolla and Carlsbad, and ate amazing tacos!

Even while touring, I kept up with my students. In August we held our first student recital since Covid with players ranging in age of 14-62, and were gifted a wonderful Fernando Sor song with soprano Jessica Cooper.

At the end of November I kicked off my new blog series Music I Am, featuring brief interviews with inspiring and smart musicians and artists about their latest projects, inspirations, and habits. Check it out HERE.

Wishing all of you a happy and healthy year ahead. May 2023 be a year of wonderful music, exciting adventures, and Dreams Realized.

Musically,

Aaron

2022 Numbers Expanded

  • Premieres: 12 – Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Antonio Celso Ribeiro, Dean Rosenthal, Thomas L. Read, Laurie Spiegel, Ian Wiese, Aaron Larget-Caplan
  • Concerts: 26 – California, Oregon, Massachusetts, which is still well below pre-covid concert numbers.
  • Espresso: 730-50 (~2 per day on average) – mainly cappuccino and Cortado
  • Albums: 2 – honey cadence and God’s Time: Music of J.S. Bach on Guitar
  • Cassettes: 1 – Etudes Volume 1 by Petridisch 
  • Publications: 3 – Bacchanale w/ Edition Peters and two Meet The Composer articles for the American Composers Alliance 
  • Collaborations: Frederick Jodry – harpsichord, John Thomas – piano; Convergence Ensemble: Heidi Braun-Hill – violin, Michelle LaCourse – viola, Hyun-Ji Kwon – cello
  • Music with electronics: 2 – Lainie Fefferman & Tom Flaherty
  • Interviews & PodcastsAll Classical Portland, Conducting Conversations Rhode IslandAll things Six Strings (2x), Just One Question, Guitaromanie, Fret Not
  • Grants: 3 – Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, multiple Local Cultural Council
  • Grants Applied for:
  • Interviews conducted: 5 – Music I Am blog series
  • Residencies: 2 Kirkland Community Artist Residency, Clinton, New York • Now Musique – Dorchester, Mass.
  • Classes: 12 – California, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island
  • Streams: 2.5 million – Amazon and Spotify
  • Teaching: In person and online with students from California, China, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Texas.
  • Amazing Street Tacos: 2 – San Francisco Korean Tacos and Los Angeles street tacos
  • Pieces performed: 79 compositions by 34 living composers, including 7 chamber works, 12 world premieres, and 29 solos from the New Lullaby Project

* Now Musique Composers TL: John McDonald, Stanley Hoffman, Charles Turner, Aaron Larget-Caplan TR: Larget-Caplan, Ronald Pearl, Brian Schober, Scott Wheeler BL: Tom Flaherty, Larget-Caplan, Stefanie Lubkowski, Ian Wiese, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz BR: Anthony Green, Francine Trester, Jim Dalton, Michael Veloso, Larget-Caplan, Curtis Hughes

Chamber Music with Convergence Ensemble

On Sunday November 20th at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester, I had the pleasure of collaborating on an exciting program of chamber music for Convergence Ensemble with three wonderful musicians: violinist Heidi Braun-Hill, violist Michelle LaCourse, cellist Hyun-Ji Kwon, and myself. 

Strings Galore featured music duos with guitar for violin, viola, and cello by John Cage, Antonio Celso Ribeiro, and Thomas L. Read, as well two quartets for strings and guitar by Roland Dyens and Libby Larsen. A trio by Beethoven, and two guitar solos by Bach and yours truly rounded out the program.

Directed by Rachel Goodwin, Convergence Ensemble seeks to stimulate, support, and inspire stronger connections within and between New England communities through chamber music concerts and community enrichment programs. 

This was my first collaboration with Convergence Ensemble and the musician, and it was awesome!

Rarely do I have the pleasure of sharing 40min of chamber music, and relatively new chamber music, in a single concert. 

Huge thanks to Rachel Goodwin, Rose Hegel, and the Convergence Ensemble board for organizing the concert.

To the composers and friends Antonio Celso Ribeiro and Thomas L. Read, and to the lovely musicians who were gems to create music with.

We will be performing more, so stay tuned!

 

 

Microphone by Your Heaven Audio. Guitar strings by Hannabach