Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

John Cage Interview – BNN News

Aaron went to BNN News to speak with news anchor Chris Lovett for an interview on Aaron’s latest release: John. Cage. Guitar. 

Watch as Chris and Aaron discuss the Apostle of provocation.

Brilliant “Solace” Radiates

Boston Musical Intelligencer
Review by  • OCTOBER 1, 2018

“Larget-Caplan stretched the limits of the sound of the guitar, experimenting with playing positions most others do not tend to use: sul tasto, sul ponticello, finger vs. nail, etc. It’s refreshing to hear and very rewarding.”

Osvaldo Golijov (file photo)

FULL REVIEW:
Introspection and catharsis abided on the Pickman Hall stage Saturday with Radius Ensemble’s “Solace,” an eclectic set of comforting pieces highlighting composers who suffered within or escaped from totalitarian regimes along with a pairing of two living composers, an underplayed oddity, and a titan of the repertoire. Eugene Kim on cello, Aaron Larget-Caplan on guitar, Megumi Stohs Lewis on violin, and Randall Zigler on bass, joined the core ensemble.

Osvaldo Golijov compiled the majority of Lullaby & Doina from the score he wrote for the 2000 movie The Man Who Cried, taking much from “Entendre Encore” (I still believe I hear) from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers (the two different worlds met in the movie itself). Extracting score cues under the melody of “Entendre Encore,” Golijov constructed a decent hybrid of both composers’ styles, though he seemingly emphasized Bizet’s melody over his own material. Sarah Brady on flute and Eran Egozy on clarinet sounded like one instrument. The strings of Lewis, Noriko Futagami on viola, Kim, and Zigler supported the winds admirably and functioned well in the solos, especially Futagami, whose throaty C string playing complemented the clarinet well. The main star of the show, however, was Egozy. When he played, this reviewer paid full attention; his phrasing of the decidedly more folk-like and klezmer-like passages spoke to a deep understanding laid bare for everyone.

Eclogues, Op. 206 of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco sets an odd combination: flute, English horn, and guitar. Brady and Radius founder Jennifer Montbach on English horn joined Larget-Caplan in trotting out this underplayed set of bagatelles. Through the lynchpin of the flute, the strange combination of voices functioned pretty well. There were some cracks in the orchestration between the guitar and English horn, but that is not the performers’ faults. Brady and Montbach once again became a single voice, responding to one another lyrically and smoothly when in imitation and united as a single complex voice when in harmony. Larget-Caplan stretched the limits of the sound of the guitar, experimenting with other playing positions most others do not tend to use: sul tasto, sul ponticello, finger vs. nail, etc. It’s refreshing to hear and very rewarding. The piece itself, though, left a lot to be desired. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, despite having excellent melodies and a highly exploitable palette of timbres, instead crafted formulas to use over and over again: English horn states a phrase, flute responds, guitar plays like a piano and accompanies on chords. Rinse and repeat. The fourth movement broke the trend by reversing it, with much-needed freshness after stifling loops of the same ideas over and over.

Responding to the shooting of noted Islamic women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai, Elena Ruehr (in attendance that evening) wrote Liftfor solo cello. It clearly had moved Miriam Bolkosky of the core ensemble. Before she set he bow on the strings, she discussed what the work meant to her, a visual sensation that reminded her of Yousafzai’s home she had to flee for speaking out. Though perhaps that sensation did not translate to the audience as well as she hoped, Bolkosky did an admirable job with the solo. The lower register material at times mirrored that of an organ or a choir, multiple voices resonating with the help of the cello to expand the instrument far beyond any perceived limitations. At times, it sounded as though there was more than one instrument playing in the lower registers, thanks to the power of the overtone resonance. The upper register, however, did not fair as well. What was intended to be lyrical sometimes came across as choppy, bow strokes cutting the smoothness of attack that the low register basked in. Some notes also took a moment to settle, Bolkosky needing a noticeable moment to lock them in. Despite these issues, Bolkosky delivered.

Elena Ruehr (file photo)

A firework of a piano trio rounded out the evening. Shostakovich’s incredibly personal and introspective Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 resonated with pianist Sarah Bob when she too became grief stricken (this reviewer cannot recall why), mirroring what Shostakovich felt upon the death of close friend Ivan Ivanovich Sollertinsky. Grief begetting grief. How appropriate. Lewis and Bolkosky, and Bob truly thundered, especially through the third and fourth movements, which became the brain and bite of the evening, as personal anxiety and anger mixed with the pervasive and unwanted hand of Papa Stalin through Soviet Realism. Bob and Lewis ruled here, as though they went through the composer’s tragic loss with him, filling the notes with angst in the third movement and biting grit in the fourth. It should be released on CD for the world to hear.

The radians began their 20th anniversary season with a bang rather than the soothing whispers the concert’s theme suggested. The group’s been all about dichotomy whether intentionally or. Pay attention when a performance of theirs comes up. It really can be life changing.

Ian Wiese is a doctoral candidate composer at the New England Conservatory of Music. He studies with Mr. Michael Gandolfi. Several of his friends and colleagues performed on this evening’s concert.

C4NM April 7 Concert Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         March 4, 2018

BACH FROM MUMBAI & CAGE ON GUITAR

American guitar virtuoso Aaron Larget-Caplan returns to San Francisco for a one-night-only performance of ReImaginationS at the Center For New Music on Saturday April 7 at 7pm, 55 Taylor Street in San Francisco, Tenderloin neighborhood.

ReImaginationS explores keyboard works arranged for solo guitar by J.S. Bach and John Cage. The Cage compositions are from his early and mid-career, that vary from simple contrapuntal forms (Round, Canon) to dance works influenced by composer Erik Satie and Japanese music and aesthetics: spacious, modal and lyrical. Larget-Caplan’s arrangements were recently published by Edition Peters, and seek to explore the timbre qualities of the guitar and the spirit of the 20th century American icon. They are the first sanctioned arrangements for guitar.

Indian-American composer Vineet Shende (Bowdoin College) reimagined J.S. Bach through the prism of him being born in Mumbai, India in his Preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier. Shende’s ‘Carnatic Preludes, After J.S. Bach’ rewrite them in South Indian Carnatic musical language using ragas (modes/scales), as well as tala (shifts in rhythmic groupings and metric modulations), which often play an analogous role to what harmonic tension/release does in Western music. The three Carnatic Preludes on the program are paired with Larget-Caplan’s artistic transcriptions of the original keyboard preludes for guitar. The musical collaboration is a true fusion of musical cultures between India & European classical music, and the musical epochs of the 18th and 21st centuries. All of the compositions featured are California premieres!

Larget-Caplan is on a solo 2-week 10-concert tour on the west coast that takes him from Los Angeles and Bakersfield through the Bay Area and Sacramento, before he heads to Oregon. “I am very excited to be returning to C4NM and the Bay Area. The Bay Area is a perfect metaphor for my artistic imagination of various cultures positively influencing each other, living side-by-side and sharing in their arts. The Center for New Music is a gem and an important part of sharing in the cultural fabric that classical music often forgets to do or keeps in academia. I look forward to premiering these works with the SF community!”

ABOUT THE ARTIST & ARRANGER
Noted for his “astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, Aaron Larget-Caplan is an international recording and touring guitarist, as well as an outlier in the classical music community. He often performs new music in rural and non-academic venues for people of all-ages, he has premiered over 75 compositions with many being written for him, and regularly highlights composers of non-western backgrounds in his concerts. Aaron’s arrangements of the music of John Cage are published by Edition Peters, and a recording dedicated to John Cage on guitar will be released in 2018 on Stone Records (UK). Stone, Albany, and Parma Records issue his solo and chamber recordings. He is on faculty at University of Massachusetts Boston and formerly Boston Conservatory.

Video Introduction of the John Cage Collection (2’): https://youtu.be/vJdTXTcxJfE
Center For New Music: www.CenterForNewMusic.com
Artist info: www.ALCGuitar.com • info@ALCGuitar.com
C4NM Contact: Kurt Rohde, kurtrohde@dslextreme.com
C4NM Event Page: http://centerfornewmusic.com/calendar/reimaginations-cage-shende-bach-on-guitar-aaron-larget-caplan/
Audio of Carnatic Prelude N. 1: https://soundcloud.com/aaronlcguitar/shende-carnatic-prelude-1

CALENDAR LISTING

Saturday April 7 at 7pm • San Francisco, CA
ReImaginationS – Cage, Shende & Bach on Guitar
Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitar
Admission: $10 Members • $15 General • Door or Online
Where: Center for New Music, 55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Info: (415) 275-C4NM (2466)
Info: www.centerfornewmusic.com/?p=4126
FBevent: www.facebook.com/events/141279946502125/

 

Thank you 2017!

2017 was musically exciting and adventurous. New collaborations with wonderful musicians and composers pushed me in new directions, for which I am grateful. I am extremely grateful for the friends and family that listen, support, and attend concerts. Also, to the many students who work every day to be better musicians and to find the music in daily life. 

May 2018 be all that you wish for: to good strings, exciting music, and lovely people!

Happy New Year!
Aaron

Musical Highlights of 2017

Concerts in Granada & Extremadura, Spain with cellist Kathleen Balfe
(Spain premieres by Thomas L. Read & Tom Flaherty)

Composers Ian Wiese, Tim Pence, Vineet Shende, Francine Trester, Scott Wheeler, & David McMullin

All-New Lullaby Concerts at the ICA Boston and Coaster Theater, Oregon!

New Lullaby World Premieres by Vineet Shende, Ian Wiese & Stanley Hoffman (New Lullaby Premiere #52!)

A World of Guitar kickoff tour in Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee with guitarists Peter Janson and Steve Davison

World premieres of Carnatic Preludes, After J.S. Bach (N. 1, 11) by Vineet Shende

Concerto debut with the North Shore Philharmonic under Robert Lehman

All-John Cage concerts in Mainz, Germany and the Mantova Chamber Music Festival, Italy

Recorded Concert Champêtre for cello & guitar by Thomas L. Read with Rafael Popper-Keizer

Astoria Music Festival debut with bass-baritone Richard Zeller

A World of Guitar west coast tour of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona with Peter Janson.

Lecture and performance for the 2017 MU PHI EPSILON tri-annual Convention in Denver

First John Cage for Guitar Lecture-Performance at the Mannes School of Music

Publication of John Cage’s Piano Music Arranged for Guitar by Edition Peters!!

Recording begun of John Cage for Guitar at the Kitchen with engineer Steve Hunt and guests Adam Levin (guitar) and Sharan Leventhal (violin)

A World of Guitar – Summer Tour

Recent Fan Letters!

On occasion I get notes from fans following concerts or after they hear a CD or a podcast. Happily, this is occurring more and more!

Here are a few recents:

1 – “A note to say how much I enjoyed your concert. It is one thing to see an accomplished musician play his instrument; it’s quite another to see and listen to a brilliant musician who is at one with the guitar. Truly, as I sat there, I felt the connection between you and your guitar – they were one. This doesn’t happen often, so I’m glad I saw you perform. At times, the guitar sounded as a harpsichord; at others, like a violin. That is a testament to the musician.” – Jan., Oregon

2 – “Your CD. Wow! You have wonderfully braved the criticism of the fuddy-duddy classical ineffectuals. The choices and playing have opened your music to a much wider audience. I’m sharing the experience with friends and family, we are all on board. Another thing I really appreciate about the CD, you are willing to follow the lead of the last half of the 20th century and move away from strictly tonal music. Please keep it up.” – David C., Oregon

3 – Aaron, I recently listened to your interview with Bret Williams and videos at Savage Classical — both were excellent!! Thank you for continuing to push the guitar forward!! – Ben R., NY

4 – Wonderful concert yesterday! I was honored to be in the audience. – Mary J., Oregon

5 – “It looks like Aaron is ready to make a big splash In New York. It’s funny, I played his [Legend ofHagoromo CD yesterday, and the thought occurred to me that, if you hadn’t seen him perform it, you might think it was some trick done during the recording.” – Carolyn E., – Oregon

 

ACME Honoree from Mu Phi Epsilon

It is a great honor to be a Mu Phi Epsilon ACME Honoree!

I look forward to continuing my musical adventure with the wonderful musicians and music lovers of Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity. Go Beta Chapter!!acmee-mpe-fall-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read about the fraternity and other ACME Honorees at: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.muphiepsilon.org/resource/resmgr/triangle_issues/vol110issue3Fall2016.pdf

Inspired by Paintings with Composer Thomas L. Read

Thomas L. Read

           Thomas L. Read

I have always been intrigued by music that looked towards the visual arts for inspiration. Of course Pictures in an Exhibition by Mussorgsky is one of the most famous, but I am equally thrilled by the Joan Miró painting  Equinox, which inspired Toru Takemitsu’s guitar solo of the same title, which I recorded in 2005 and again in 2015. In 2013 composer Thomas L. Read composed a guitar and cello duo for me titled ‘Concert Champêtre’ .

Concert Champetre painting - Titian

                                 Titian

Read, professor emeritus of University of Vermont Burlington and an New England Conservatory alumni, wrote me about the piece:

“The initial concept of the duet emerged with recollection of two famous paintings: Le Concert Champêtre, c. 1509, by Titian, and Et in Arcadia Ego, 1639, by Nicolas Poussin. The music is cast in three interconnected movements played without pause.”

‘Le Concert Champêtre’ (The Pastoral Concert) is an oil painting of c. 1509 attributed to either of the Italian Renaissance masters, Titian or Giorgione. It is in the Musée du Louvre in Paris

Et-in-Arcadia-ego

                         Nicolas Poussin

‘Et in Arcadia ego’ is a 1637–38 painting by Nicolas Poussin. It depicts a pastoral scene with idealized shepherds from classical antiquity clustering around an austere tomb

I gave the first performance of Concert Champêtre at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia with cellist  Anton Andreev on May 22, 2014. I have since performed it in Boston, New Hampshire and again in Russia. The Spanish premiere is being planned for summer 2016 and there is hope for a near future recording. The work is published by the American Composers Alliance and the guitar part is edited by me.

Here is a video in Boston with cellist Anton from November 2014:

 

‘Six Melodies’ Published by Edition Peters!

Exciting news!

Aaron’s Arrangement of ‘Six Melodies’ for violin & guitar by John Cage is now published and available through Edition Peters!

http://www.edition-peters.com/product/modern/six-melodies-for-violin-and-guitar/ep68526?TRE00000/

    Six Melodies by John Cage

Written in 1955 and originally for violin and keyboard, Aaron’s arrangement is the first John Cage composition featuring the guitar to be published by Editions Peters, the official publisher of the music of John Cage.

For those not experienced in the early writing of John Cage, the Six Melodies are a wonAaron & Cagederful introduction to a vibrant musical mind whose influence cannot be underestimated. The Six Melodies are quite approachable and audience friendly though their ability to transport listeners to other realms must be considered when programming. The arrangement explores and expands on the timbre (color) qualities of the guitar in place of the keyboard, and the guitar’s more intimate sound compliments the unique violin playing for a truly complimentary duo. Music progressions and hierarchy of pitches take a backseat to an expansive exploration of timbre and rhythm.

Cage_ScoresDuring this period of his composition, John Cage was greatly influenced by the I-Ching, Book of Changes, creating many works based on ‘chance-operations’ during the composing process. The influence of Asian music through rhythm patterns can be heard with the works written in rhythmic structures: 3½, 3½, 4, 4, 3, 4.

The work is not easy for violin with many harmonics and jumps due to the exact string indications given. Cage also asks for no vibrato and minimum weight on the bow. The guitar part is somewhat demanding with a few unusual chords, timbre directions and counting. As a duo there are some wonderful hockets especially in Melodies 3 and 4.

A recording of ‘Six Melodies’ is being planned for 2016-2017. Special thanks to Stephen Drury for the idea of this arrangement and to Sharan Leventhal in giving the first performance at the Boston Conservatory in 2012.

The score is available for purchase through the Edition Peters website:  http://goo.gl/Lj3L8g

For those who do perform or hear it live, please let me know by commenting on this post or via my Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/aaronlcguitar

Oregon and Washington Tour Photos and Video!

I had a fantastic time traveling through Oregon and Washington in early February.  In a little over nine days I performed six concerts, one radio show and a workshop in two states. I gave the Oregon-Washington premieres of Lynn Job’s ‘The Sixth Night’, Nolan Stolz’s ‘Lullaby for Sam’, Scott Wheeler’s ‘Nachtlied’, Garrett Ian Shatzer’s ‘Lullaby for D—‘ (world premiere and 45th New Lullaby) and my new arrangements of Bach and Scarlatti. My return to the Pacific Northwest came at a wonderful time: I missed the worst of the snow in Boston! A full map of my travels are below.

Practicing some Scarlatti in Astoria, Oregon:

For the opening concert at Grace Episcopal Church in Astoria, Oregon, the amazing artist Charles Schweigert allowed for his painting ‘Hagoromo’ to share the performance space with me, giving another interpretation of the Japanese myth while I performed Keigo Fujii’s ‘The Legend of Hagoromo’. A detail of the painting will be the cover art on my forthcoming CD!
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A true ‘full-house’ in Oysterville, Washington. It was my second performance for this wonderful house concert series.  Read a post about hosting such events by Sydney Stevens, click HERE.
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The Volcanic Theatre Pub in Bend, Oregon was the third concert of the tour.  Met by old friends and eager ears!

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A pop-up concert was added at the last minute back in Astoria in collaboration with the Orange on Blue Gallery Exhibit by Darren Orange at the John Jacobs Hotel. It was a fantastic evening with tango dancers improvising, gorgeous art work and a curious and excited audience! Watch a brief video by Jeff Daly: HERE (FB)

DSCN3511dancersMyself, tango dancers JL Gillikin & Heather Hryciw and Artist Darren Orange

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Astoria has an amazing number of artists and writers. After the performance I was surprised to meet the celebrated artist Noel Thomas.  He drew this sketch:
Noel Thomas DrawingThe Coaster Theatre in Cannon Beach received a special Valentine’s Day concert, Of Love & Dreams.  The concert featured a great audience in a wonderful venue.  They also hosted in me a beautiful hotel on the beach and made sure the sun was just right so I could walk barefoot in the sand. IMG_7131IMG_7114DSCN3526

A selfie prior to concert time in Cannon Beach followed by an advertisement at Lincoln City Cultural Center, which I did not know about until I arrived! I found myself intrigued when I was drying my hands. Quite a smile!
IMG_7140 IMG_7180 IMG_7156One of the pleasures of touring is meeting friends on the road and being touched by their generosity. My fraternity brothers and sisters of Mu Phi Epsilon are very special and never cease to amaze me.  I met Judy and RG Goff when I was a wee lad of 19. In Bend they fed me, made sure I stayed hydrated with local concoctions, got me walking and were great supports in so many ways. Besides being very patient, Judy is a fantastic teacher and singer. Here she is at Lava Butte in Deschutes National Forest.

DSCN3429Hanging with MPE brother Michael Lasfetto in Portland. Great sushi!
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And with Mom in Astoria following the concert at the Darren Orange exhibit.
DSCN3515It was a marvelous tour! I met many fascinating people, some who attended three performances(!), premiered multiple works, collaborated with dancers and artists, explored amazing scenery, enjoyed good coffee and sushi and made some beautiful music, all while driving just under 900 miles.  I can’t wait for the next tour!

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.58.52 PMThank you Oregon and Washington!!