At Monday night’s Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) burned up the stage with the help of two luminaries of the contemporary music world: conductor Ludovic Morlot and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The New York Times’ review of the concert was glowing.
It was with great delight that I could photograph their rehearsals for the four days prior to the concert and watch such talented musicians work on these challenging musical pieces.
Claire Chase, the founder of the ensemble, during a practice session at the ICEhaus in Brooklyn with fellow flutist, Eric Lamb, who recently performed at Noble Arts Piano Studio in Historic Downtown Easton, Pennsylvania.
Last Tuesday evening (8/10) I attended the pre-concert recital with Claire Chase on flute and Jacob Greenberg on piano. With her first selection Claire came bursting out of the gate like a race horse with an adaptation of Bach’s massive organ piece, “Toccata and Fugue in D minor”, unaccompanied on her magic flute! After that astounding opening established her virtuosity, the audience hypnotically followed her pied piping into the second, more challenging contemporary piece, Donatoni’s “Fili”. The final piece, was her own jaw-dropping arrangement for flute of Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24”, considered one of the most difficult pieces ever written for solo violin! It was all over in 30 minutes but made a lasting impression.
After days of experiencing “surround sound” music, everything began to look like sheet music, bars, measures and notes.
It looks like the top of a missile, and creates its own explosive sound –it’s actually a tympani drum turned upside down! (Adam Silwinski and Greg Beyer on percussion)
Visual rhythm inspired by musical rhythm.
(David Bowlin, Erik Carlson and Yonah Zur on violin)
It was also wonderful to see my friends Ellis Finger, director of Lafayette College’s Williams Center for the Arts and recipient of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters William Dawson award, and his wife Phyllis, in attendance at this exciting musical adventure.