Yesterday i had the privilage of performing for some of Toronto's next generation at the TD Children's Literature tent, which was part of the "Word on the Street" festival that takes place every year in Toronto. I was filling in for author Kathy Stinson who was unavailable to read from her new childrens book "The Man with the Violin". The story is all about how Joshua Bell performed in the subway station in Washington DC and how so many people walked by without noticing, however every time a child would walk by and hear the violin, they would try and stop their parents and listen. Kids are attracted to music, and beauty, and have an incredible mind and heart to take in all kinds of emotion. It was a joy to read for these children and I encourage all you parents out there to continue to read to your kids and encourage them to do something musical in their lives because it is proven that music increases the cognitave processes in your brain. And you can always ask yourself, why not learn the one and only universal language?
thank you to CBC, TD, Kathy Stinson and Lindsay Michael for inviting me to be part of this project.
our record available online and in stores today! the wooden sky ------------------------------------------ Let's be ready
In the world of indie rock the day your record is released is a big day. I have released many records so far, and been part of many record releases, however in the classical and baroque world, the day of the release can often slip by somewhat unnoticed. Well, not today. Today we are going to play a show at Sonic Boom in Toronto, and as well as being able to stream our record on CBC, indie88, and exclaim, you can now purchase it everywhere online and in stores all across Canada. We are also starting a Canadian Tour very soon. I can't wait to share some new gorgeous violin licks, beautiful songs, and rock'n tunes with all of you guys. I hope you love the record!!!
tour details here
Friday night was a beautiful night in Toronto. I partnered up with the Campbell House Museum located on the northwest corner of Queen and University to put on an evening of live music. After living in Toronto on and off for the last several years it feels totally incredible to be able to put on a live music event in the city and it be so successfull. Of course it was amazing that the morning of the show I got a call from the museum saying that it was completely SOLD OUT, however the real reason it was successful is that people arrived shortly after 7:00 pm and many of them stayed out until midnight, and had an amazing time. I've been wracking my brain and dreaming about ways to put on amazing events for my friends, my community, my city, our world - it is not easy!!! All the ingredients have to be there - but basically what it comes down to is an awesome vibe. And maybe a bar to order a drink or two, alwasy helps!!! Well, thanks to Gavin Gardiner of the Wooden Sky, Keith Hamm, Alex Read, and Britton Riley we created a beautiful Vibe. I have these amazing gentleman to thank because for me music is all about collaboration. And not just amoungst ourselves, but also a collaboration with the audience. If you're not going to tell the audience a story, then why do they show up?? I want to share my love for the music, the city, the day, as do all of my amazing colleagues, and people come to be part of that!!! It's so exciting to find a team that is on the same page. and to have them also be absolute total world class rockstars is also a bonus. I can honestly say, look any of the guys up from the show on friday night for any show that they are apart of and you will not be dissapointed.
Let me also just take a moment to give a shoutout to the audience. Alot of them stayed for 5 hours to hear us play Haydn, Mozart, a set with the ever engaging and powerful vocalist and guitar player Gavin Gardiner, a Kitchen Jam, a friend Jenna Rogers sharing some of her songs, and Keith Hamm and I tearing up a fiddle tune or two.... THANK YOU!!!
So, there is definitely more to come, I'm hoping to organize a couple of these shows next year at least, so stay tuned, let me know how you feel and what you want to hear, let me know what you love,
until next time.
Tonight I had the pleasure of warming up my gut strings in the first orchestra tech rehearsal of Persée in the Opera House of the Palace of Versailles, home of the late King Louis XIV. This opera, written by Jean-Baptiste Lully, was first performed on April 18th in 1682 at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris. Now, hundreds of years later, Opera Atelier and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra are bringing it back to France. The last time this opera was performed in Versailles was for Marie Antoinette's wedding in 1770.
As I find my way to the backstage area and drop off my case with the other musicians', I clutch my instrument with extra care as I travel through the rather treacherous looking backstage area to the pit. There is scaffolding everywhere, and the wooden planks we walk on as we head toward the pit are easily a hundred feet above the lowest level - where they used to store sets I believe. The crew is working out the flying rigs, and the dancers and singers are getting accustomed to the new stage, which is of a quite different stature then that of the Elgin Theatre, where we had our first run of performances in Toronto earlier this month. The Opera House feels like it is waiting for Kings and Queens to enter from the hallways and step into all the beautiful opera boxes four stories high.
Opening night is on Friday! We are all so excited to share this incredible production with our friends, family and the people of Versailles. The adventure of Persée and Andromède awaits us...
LOS ANGELES ~ SAN FRANCISCO ~ NEW YORK ~ TORONTO
as I sit here in Brooklyn with a green tea in hand, at one of ten thousand local coffee shops popping up everywhere all the time (which i love) I wanted to share some highlights from the last month or two and some dates for 2014 with you all. The last couple of months I have been basically living out of my suitcase, and also living out of my bands headquarters basement, namely Gavin Gardiner's basement. Thanks Gavin! Some incredible shows though, A really beautiful recital in Los Angeles with long time colleague and friend Peter Longworth, vivaldi concerto's in Wilmington Delaware, a show in Toronto with the Wooden Sky, Brendan Canning, and Classical Revolution - i believe my first triple bill... a big self-organized, self-promoted california tour with some great college buddies where we performed two weeks of shows based around the Quartet for the End of Time, by Olivier Messiaen, a recording of the Brahms Horn Trio in Santa Barbara, and even a quick visit to Glenn Devon Ranch, where we hope to bring many many more kids in years to come to explore the love, beauty, and magic of Big Sur and Music. Plans in motion for August's festival already. Stay tuned! I guess this brings me to this coming year. Well, I'm constantly dreaming, but lets start with some for sure dates. I would love to invite you to an upcoming CD release concert of a new group in the making, called ACRONYM. we are basically a bunch of great friends based in and around New York that love playing early music. Two albums are coming out in January, and our concert is set for February 10th in NYC. Details can be found on our website ACRONYMENSEMBLE we are also playing a show on February 8th in Oberlin, Ohio, where many of us went to school and first met, almost 8 years ago already... I should mention you can already listen to free soundclips from the albums on our website now :) The Wooden Sky is also releasing an album in the new year, we are aiming for March. I'm sad to say, strings only made it on a couple of tracks because of our insanely busy travel schedules this year - but come hear us play our annual holiday show this week, on Sunday December 29th, all proceeds are going to the daily bread food bank. tickets can be found here. Dreaming live.... projects in motion, I'm working on a live video installation project with Rachel Monosov, and a solo album, which may end up just being an album of all kinds of collaborations as i have some of the most talented friends i know... Wishing everyone a beautiful 2014 as we get closer to the New Year. I'm off to read through 12 brand new compositions from local New York Composers that have written songs for my quartet, another project! exciting times...
This summer has been an incredible whirlwind of adventure. Starting with a couple of months in California, finishing off in the Trinity Alps, where my friend and colleague Ian Scarfe founded a chamber music festival a couple of years ago. Since then it has been growing and growing, and I look forward to being part of it in the coming years. We were able to bring incredible chamber music to all kinds of smaller rural villages, towns, fairs, and spread the incredible beauty and community of listening to live music around Northern California. Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival
My summer took a U – turn for about 36 hours after this festival, because I was invited to audition for a quartet in New York City Called OSSO. I’m extremely excited to share that after a few weeks of considering some folks – they have asked me to join the team! We are thrilled to be discussing projects, recordings, concerts, and more for this next season. January 2014 we will be organizing our first concert in New York with the change of the guard.
My next project was with a new baroque ensemble that I am part of called ACRONYM. We spent a week in Oberlin recording our second album – this time of all Antonio Bertali. Both albums are still being edited and mastered – however, look for some information in December/January as we will be releasing our first album at that time. I’m so excited to be part of this project, and be able to share some absolutely incredible unknown early baroque music with the world. Also the team is incredible. Old and New Friends – and as most of us will be making New York our home – we are already discussing our first LIVE CONCERT TOUR.
I already forgot one really fun amazing project… in between New York and Oberlin, I flew home for two days to be part of a journey with my band the Wooden Sky. I say journey, because we partnered with the Toronto Summer Works Festival, and organized a traveling adventure show. We have been really interested for the last several years to find ways to change some of the tradition concepts of performance, and shows, and to integrate the audience, as they are so important to us. Check out this review from the show if you want! http://fingersonblast.com/reviews/2013/8/17/review-the-wooden-sky-travelling-adventure-show-at-summerwor.html
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a beautiful apartment overlooking lake Michigan, in downtown Chicago. I’m staying here for a couple of weeks with a wonderful host for the International Beethoven Project in Chicago. This is my first time being involved in the project, and this season, the theme is LOVE. I’ve been really really impressed on how much they have integrated the theme into the festival, and especially with how many different art forms they are integrating into the festival. I’ve had some time to sit down with President George Lepauw and am thrilled to hear about all the interest in working on including many different genres of the arts into one festival. This broadens the audiences immensely and it is also very engaging. Having a festival with visual arts, music, fashion, culinary arts, and more all in one gives the audiences, the performers, and everyone so much to enjoy, and learn and be apart of. It has also been a pleasure working with Matthias Pintscher, the conductor of the festival. Exciting times in the arts world I would say. I personally look forward to continuing my own desire to curate concerts and events with all kinds of different genres of the arts, both in Toronto, and the world at large.
Coming up in a couple of weeks I will be Performing at the Sweetwater Music Festival in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada – I hope I may see some of you at one of the shows!
California has had a big place in my heart for years now. Ever since i moved to San Francisco many years ago for a short time, it felt like home. I flew into San Francisco a few weeks ago now, after packing up all my belongings and leaving them with friends or on the side of the road, only to head straight up north to the Trinity Alps. I was part of a festival up there that my friend Ian Scarfe founded called the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival. We all stayed together at our friends gorgeous farm in Hyampom and practiced, rehearsed, swam, ate, drank, and watched the stars for days and nights on end. After a week of this we performed several concerts for the community around the area, in Hyampom, Weaverville, Redding, even at the Strawhouse Cafe. Easily an hour and half flight or 6 hour drive from San Francisco, these areas are remote, gorgeous, and incredibly appreciative of the chamber music my friends and i were performing. It is likely i will be returning in August, so stay tuned for more incredible chamber music, hiking, and rafting adventures!
Since July 1st I have been stationed in a tiny little town called Carmel by the Sea. Known for many quirky things like having no street lamps, so as to better be able to view the stars at night, and being a home for Clint Eastwood, and having a ban on eating ice cream on the sidewalk, it is an incredible little town full of music for the month of July because of the Carmel Bach Festival! Paul Goodwin and Peter Hanson are two of the new members of our little Bach Family here, and we are rehearsing many different programs for our two week festival coming up! Opening night is July 13th - check out the website HERE I'm also performing lots of little concerts and programs on the side at various churches, retirement communities, cafe's, and shopping centers over the next couple of weeks to spread the love and enjoyment of music around to as many people as i can! (sunday morning at church in the forest in Pebble Beach)
I'm also busy organizing a new camp in Big Sur at the moment... many more details to come. It is in partnership with YOSAL and Big Sur Land Trust, and our first week starts on July 29th!! Yesterday I spoke with Al Jardine about doing a small performance with me for the kids... I can't wait to bring music and Big Sur into these children's lives. Two of my favourite things in the world!!!
A long time ago there was a café in Leipzig called Café Zimmermann. This coffee house was founded by Georg Philipp Telemann, and then was later taken over by Johann Sebastian Bach, between 1729 and 1739. Bach often used this coffee house as a place to perform his instrumental and secular works for the first time. Well, for the first time ever, a few weeks ago, I brought the music of Bach to one of my favourite coffee shops in Toronto, Sam James. Philip Fournier and I went on a Bach and Espresso tour in the west end of Toronto, where we both reside. [wholenote article]. We started in Roncesvalles at Raymond’s café called Balluchon, then the Common (on College – there are two locations) and then Sam James, the original one, on Harbord. It was so fun to bring a huge harpsichord into all these coffee houses and perform three of the Sonatas for violin and obligato harpsichord. I am so curious to find ways to bring the community out to spend time with each other, get to know each other, enjoy each other’s company, it is far to easy these days to be totally removed from ones own community. One of the beautiful things about coffee shops, is that they nurture comfortable situation to converse in, and begin conversation. Then, if you add music, and in the case of our show at the Common, even a little wine, it becomes quite a beautiful happening of local people and local music making. A friend of mine, Melissa Dozois took some beautiful footage of one of the evenings of music at the Common, as well as interviewed me a little bit. I have included the video in this post and I hope you enjoy it. I am also extremely excited to announce that Philip and I will be touring the three remaining violin and harpsichord sonatas in the fall of 2013, as it was so fun and we plan to have all six sonatas under our fingertips – possibly even for a recording project!!!
Sometimes you meet someone, and it requires no introduction. There is a certain energy, aura, feeling, and there is this unexplainable connection. Well, this has happened a few times in my travels, and musical career, and tonight –I’m talking about Bruno Weil. To me, Bruno Weil is one of the most subtle, soft-spoken, amazing conductors in the world. I am so lucky to be able to say I have been working with him for more then eight years now, in the capacities of both Tafelmusik, as well as the Carmel Bach Fesival. One of the highlights of our friendship so far is definitely when he invited the entire tafelmusik orchestra to his home in Germany for dinner and drinks. It was incredible. I will never forget the moment he invited me upstairs to share in his study space, where a huge pool table stood in the middle of a room absolutely FULL of scores and books and notes, and more scores, and more scores… It was an incredible evening. I mentioned requiring no introduction in the beginning because eight years ago when we met, we didn’t really make any personal introduction or anything, I was simply part of the violin section at the Carmel Bach Festival, and he was the conductor, and had been for more then ten years. I was very lucky to be invited to be apart of this festival by my dear friend and colleague Elizabeth Wallfisch. Anyways, the musical adventures that I was able to take part in with Bruno’s guiding hand, and the amazing stories he would tell every once in a while stick with me to this day. Every time we work together there are such incredible Gems. Today, as we discussed dynamics in our dress rehearsal, for an opening night concert/live recording tonight at Koerner Hall in Toronto he mentioned that Beethoven wrote in a letter, I don’t know why I bother, knowone seems to be following any of my dynamics, forte’s, piano’s. It’s all shit. Well… for those people that know of Beethoven they know how incredibly meticulous he was about his dynamics, and how much he cared about the tiniest detail. Tonight as we perform the symphony I’m sure everyone will have that quote in their minds as to how important every single dynamic is to the overall story. Another thing I love about Bruno, is there is always a story line… of course we all tell our own stories when we are playing, but Bruno definitely brings them all together every so often and there is nothing like it!
This morning started off early with a quick visit to the University of Toronto where Orchestra Canada's Katherine Carleton gave me permission to come to a very interesting lecture with both Alan Brown (www.wolfbrown.com) and Howard Herring and Craig Hall from the New World Symphony (www.nws.edu) where there was a discussion of very interesting new ways to engage young audiences, build audiences, increase the use of multimedia, and so many fun exciting things! Another fun event of the day was talking to Mike from www.clevelandclassical.com, so fun to talk about music, and our stories, and find out that we are both Obies!! (went to Oberlin college) and have so many mutual friends, like Mark Fewer! I will be in Cleveland next week, if any of you are… please let me know!
on tour. kickin it. playin.