Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lisa Moore Masterclass

[Editor's Note: This post contribution is from Sarah Gibson, one of the composer/performers (piano) at the festival. She is a also a fellow Trojan. Fight on, Sarah.]

I am sure it is very clear that we all have been absolutely spoiled the past two weeks going to fantastic rehearsals and concerts, and hearing great lectures and masterclasses by Joel Hoffman, Stephen Hartke, Martin Bresnick, and eighth blackbird…but just when you think we couldn’t possibly have anymore fantastic musical experiences, Lisa Moore, with her incredible piano playing abilities, blonde curly hair, and awesome accent to go along with a great since of humor, came over the Alps to see us. It was such a fantastic experience to squeeze one more masterclass in our schedules, and it definitely got us excited to hear Lisa give her piano recital today.

Five of the six pianists attending the festival gave awesome performances from a wide spectrum of styles. Johanna Ballou started us off performing Brett Dean’s Equality. This is a piece that is difficult to some up in words merely because the very words that make the piece are so shocking, funny, and any other word you want to use to explain a theatrical and political piece. Without spoiling the punch line, Lisa effectively helped Johanna deliver her lines more passionately, audibly, and comically. It was great to hear that piece for the first time having no idea what was going to pop out of Johanna’s mouth.

Next up was Naomi Perley giving a performance of Janacek’s Piano Sonata. How exciting for her to play this piece for Lisa, who knows the piece like the back of her awesome piano hands! It was inspiring to watch how quickly Naomi would respond to Lisa’s coaching about bringing certain melodic lines out (ones that represented Hungarian rhythms in speech), using different colors in certain passages, and paying attention to the smallest detail. It was a pleasure to witness Lisa’s knowledge of this piece and it’s composer.

Following this, Liz Remizowski brought up a piece she herself commissioned (yay! commissioning young composer friends!)! It was a very virtuosic piece that Liz impressively played from memory. Even though Lisa had never heard it, she was still able to help Liz with the large scope of the piece and dealing with dealing with small nuances that could help bring a new life into the piece.

Fourth was the composer/pianist, Paul Kerekes, who just continues to blow the pants off us! He started off playing Joan Tower’s “Holding a Daisy,” wonderfully exuding the dark sides of this piece. He then played (bravely) David Lang’s hauntingly beautiful piece, “wed,” which Lisa Moore was performing the next day on her recital! She didn’t say much to Paul about his interpretation, just that he took a more emotional and romantic approach and that hers, which we all heard today, was more still and without emotional peaks and valleys. Depicting one of Lang’s deceased friends who had become a victim of cancer, it was about the wedding that she and her husband had in the hospital room before she died. It was very touching and interesting to hear two different interpretations of this powerful piece so close together.

Finally, Erika Dohi closed out the masterclass…but, unfortunately I couldn’t hear it (and to use the ultimate musician excuse)…I had a rehearsal. But I can most certainly attest to Erika’s ability to play that piano in concert settings!

As a composer/pianist myself, it was great to round out our great composition masterclasses and presentations we’ve had with such an enthusiastic and fun piano masterclass. It certainly makes me want to seek out lessons or summer programs where Lisa will be in the future (MusicX again, please?) ☺

Okay…off to the final Music10 concert! Reich, Mazoli, Kerekes, Kirsten, and Goldman…a celebratory finish!

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