This past year I began the journey of making a film with my dear friend William. We started performing together almost four years ago. Our curiosities include discovering the connections of baroque and folk music, the dance elements between them, and the magic it creates. Diving into the culture and traditions of the folk music that we love, exploring new ways of sharing this music with the world, this is what we hope to do with this film. Our latest adventure took us to Ireland, a place where traditional music comes from the mist that hovers above the ocean, the dew that sticks to the trees in the forest, and the dreams that dance around the stone walls of the castles. We literally drove through a hurricane to make a film of our journey. We brought a team with us from California, a couple of dear friends. When we arrived in Ireland we also met Jim, and crew to remember. A hero among men Jim is, I would say. His words will flow with me into this new year. I will share just a few of them with you. He would turn his head towards you, smile, and say: "Everything is possible, all of the time" Well Jim, we did manage to shoot over 100 hours of footage all over county Kerry, and play seven shows in two weeks.... what were we thinking!!! A lot of very short nights, but late night planning and early morning drives 'drove' us to make something really really beautiful. I'm so excited to share this with you. We will be launching a campaign soon to raise the money to finish it, because as you can imagine, this project is an expensive one. I really hope it will encourage and touch people young and old, for years to come. Stay in touch. Be true to yourself.
A long time ago it took weeks, or months to travel to Ireland, today I hopped on a plane and arrived in about five and a half hours. What a world we live in!!! The country here is soaked with the old world. Gorgeous buildings, cobblestone streets, pubs that poured their first pints four or five hundred years ago. It is truly a magnificent feeling. I arrived in Dingle this afternoon after traveling from the Dublin airport, getting picked up by Eilis Kennedy, we made our way across the country. The roads were narrow, the fog was thick, and you couldn't see ten feet in front of you on the mountain pass. What a drive! We also encountered an Irish traffic jam, of some cows going back to their stall after a day out in the fields. William Coulter and I rehearsed for a few hours with Eilis to prepare for a run of a few shows in a row now, starting tomorrow in Dingle at St. James Church, a series that William's brother Steve founded years and years ago. We also went for a gorgeous walk along the pier, and even caught some live music, which was drifting out of all the pubs. Live music in all the pubs!!! We walked into one of them, and Bill turned to me and said, "that's one of my favourite guitar players in the world" And then the fiddle player looked up from playing a tune and said. "I know you! You're Fire & Grace!" Well, Ireland, I'm already falling in love, and I've only been here for one day. The weather was PERFECT. it was rainy, cloudy, wet, dreary, and gorgeous. Honestly though, it feels so wonderful walking back to our lodging with the wind and rain and Irish air whipping around our faces, after a pint of Guinness. Ready for a few shows in a new country I've never been, with lots of new experiences to be had....
Thanks for listening,
I am back in Toronto for a while now playing some great concerts with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, however I wanted to share some stories about the journey of ACRONYM. We just spent a few days together at Avaloch Music Institute in New Hampshire, and learned some really great new repertoire - among my favourite - is a Sonata by Biber called Jocunda, a very strange and wonderful piece that highlights the variety and improvisational aspects of Biber and the music of his time so well! I am also delighted to inform you that we went into the studio the following week, in New York at Oktaven Audio and made another record. It is so incredible to make such great music with friends and colleagues that you share so much love of the music with. It feels incredible to be in the studio and have everyone in the ensemble, and in the booth, just routing for the group, our concepts, our ideas, our sound.
The four fiddlers in ACRONYM are Beth, Adriane, Johanna and myself, and we all met at Marilyn McDonald's studio in Oberlin, Ohio, almost 15 years ago. I will share a photo of the four of us below, because we have such a great time together, and Jeff Weeks, a photographer that joined us for a few hours at Avaloch this summer captured it quite beautifully.
This weekend we are all meeting up in Clinton, New York for a concert at Hamilton College, performing with our dear friend Jesse Blumberg and playing a program of all Rosenmüller. It's is going to be a fun show - if you're in the area, drop by and come listen!!!
Driving down Highway One to Big Sur is one of the most special things for me. The feeling, the memories, the draw that I have, the spot this place has in my heart. It feels like home. I'm writing as I listen to the waves crashing, and I watch the birds soaring not above me, but below me, and today, there is not one single cloud in the sky. As I drive down the highway however, the feeling is different this time, there are so few cars, and the energy is vibrant. Pulling into the Ranger Station in Big Sur, the last possible stop before Highway One is completely closed, there is a buzz of confused tourists turning around, that have not heard the news, locals rushing to a parking spot with groceries in hand and getting ready for the hike to their home, or ride, or wheelbarrow on the other side of the huge gap, which used to be a bridge. William and I get out our instruments and play some tunes as we wait for someone to come pickup all of our stuff for Fiddle Camp. Yes, road closures and all, fiddle camp is ON! I start hiking through the redwoods, down the hill, by the river, back up the hill, passing others along the way, every one stops to say hello. We are on an island now, lets say hello, ask a question, share a moment. Getting to the other side of the closure other cars are lined up along the Highway. As a local, you have a car on either one side of the bridge or the other, and the rest you have to figure out with friends, neighbors, family, and of course the best of all - the community itself. Last night about 15 incredible musicians, teachers, players, pickers, fiddlers, banjo players, sat around and we began to discuss the goings on of camp. The kids arrive today. There is so much love here for sharing. So much talk about flow, about plugging in to the needs and desires of the kids - of sharing your passion. I'm going to be teaching a bulgarian tune, an improve class, a fiddle class, there will be soooo many things everyone can learn - and I'm going to try and go to everyone else's classes too. Banjo, Ukulele, Mandolin, you name it... Last night it was impossible to go to sleep, people were jamming, and discussing ideas for the week. This morning at breakfast we decided that there must be a yoga class every morning at 7 am, obviously!!! playing whatever instrument you do all day, everyone has to stretch! That while drinking raw goats milk, fresh strawberries, and the most insane ginger scones of my life was a pretty cool start to the day.
it's time to meet all the kids, and continue being part of exciting the energy around us, contributing to the madness, and joining in the fun :)
BIG SUR FIDDLE CAMP REGISTRATION OPEN NOW - click here for more details
Big Sur has been a big part of my life for over a decade, and this summer I have been invited to teach at the Big Sur Fiddle Camp!!! A legendary camp, on one of the most gorgeous magical properties in Big Sur, we get together for a week and learn, jam, eat, and play music together. I'm so honoured and excited to invite you all to come work with an incredible team of teachers. More details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Two thousand and sixteen has been an incredible year. So much has happened. Every year is of course a year of learning, of discovery, of love, of birth, of death. This year I learned so much. I wanted to share a few beautiful moments with you now, looking back at the last twelve months. I got an email this morning that congradulated me on having one of the top 25 violin blogs in the world. I have no idea how I got to be on this list, and I don't really know what it means, but I'm simply happy and excited that some of my adventures, shortcommings, and opportunities may get shared around the world and encourage my fellow people to continue to enjoy, create, and imagine incredible ways to make, perform, listen, and be part of the world of the Arts.
I want to give a big thank you to so many incredible people in my life that have helped me this last year to continue to become the musician I am constantly struggling to become. A big thank you to my dad, Jan Huizinga, to my sister, and her husband, to my dear friend Jennifer Toole, to my California parents Bob and Leslie, to my fairy godmother MJ, to my bandmates Gavin, Simon, Andrew, and Kip, to my duo partner and dear friend William Coulter, to strangers sending me messages along the way, encouraging me, and to all the hugs I have recieved that literally provide me with the energy to forge ahead and keep sharing the beauty of the world, with the world, to the world.
I made a little list, just for fun. It is a way for me to remember some incredible moments, and to share them with you.
In 2016 I released an album with my friend William Coulter. It is a duo album, for violin and guitar, and it explores both of our loves of folk and baroque music, and beyond! I hope to share it with as many people as I can in the next year. Have a listen if you can. I will include a link HERE.
CBC "This Is My Music"
I have my publicist Amy Gottung to thank for this incredible opportunity. Everyone in the world of running their own business, or being self employed knows how incredibly challenging it can be. Well, there is absolutely no way I could do what I do without my dear friends. I consider Amy one of these friends. Thank you Amy. I look forward to continue working with you as long as I can, until you become way to busy for little people like me :)
CBC is an incredible organization that shaped my entire life as a musician. And on December 10th 2016 I hosted a show on CBC Radio 2 called This is My Music and I shared some of my story, and love, and passion. Thank you to all of you that listened all across Canada and around the world. The link to the show is up and will remain up if you are interested in listening at any time.
Smithsonian Chamber Players in Washington, DC
Early on in 2016 I was invited to be part of a concert at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. This was definitely one of the highlights of the year for me, as I got to play with some incredible colleagues, work closely with Kenneth Slowik, the Director of the Institute, and have a chance to play on some incredible Stradivarious Violins.
Wunderkammer CD Release
ACRONYM ENSEMBLE is one of the projects in my life I care very deeply for. It is a 12 piece band of my friends, and we get together and find incredible unknown baroque repertoire and record and perform it. Wunderkammer is no exception, and it is such an incredibly unique disc of many different unknown composers from the Baroque Era. One of the other reasons I love this band, is that we never say no to an idea, at least at first. Everyone in the group is always willing to give something a try. You would be so surprised, or maybe you wouldn't be, as we get older, people are less and less inclined to try anything new out at all - let's fight that movement... if we can, together!
Whole Note Cover Article and Podcast
Podcasts are becoming a very popular and very intersting form of information and story sharing I think. I felt really honoured this past year to be part of Wholenote's launch of their very own Podcast. It was so fun to sit down with the magazine and talk about my new album Fire & Grace, and also discuss things about Toronto, Canada, and my place as an artist in the world today. Also, it was a huge surprise when they put my face on the cover - thank you Wholenote, as we all know, a little recognition of your work as an Artist goes a long way sometimes.
AGO performance with Jennifer Nichols "The Mystical Soul"
Art + Music + Dance is about as mathamatical as my life gets, but these three things are something that I constantly crave to put together. Jennifer Nichols is a really great friend, and we spent a few weeks working together in preparation for our first performance at the AGO. It was an incredible project, with The Sun, by Edvard Munch as the background (the real one). Jennifer Choreographed the dance to one of my favourite baroque violin pieces. Biber's Passacaglia. We ended up performing this work three times in one evening, all three to completely packed audiences, and left the scene feeling very compelled to do more. I'm so excited to figure out what our next project is going to be! Also - if anyone has any suggestions on when we could possibly launch this one again, that would be grrrrrreat!
Stereo Live CBC Recording
Looking back on my year, I was in the CBC studio a few times. Once to have a coffee with Tom Allen, and discuss some really fun projects that I hope we can continue to work on, once to host a show, and also to record the Schubert cello Quintet with some absolutely fantastic colleagues. Keith Hamm, Elinor Frey, Tom Wiebe, and Mark Destrube. These four musicians, and then myself recorded one of my favourite pieces of chamber music for CBC Radio. It was part of a series Keith Hamm and I run called Stereo Live, and it was such a great experience to perform this piece around Toronto for several different audiences and then bring it into the studio. I hope you may hear it on the air at some point this next season, although keep in mind, it is a live recording, and may not be completely flawless. I say, it keeps everything real. Fresh. and Exciting.
BEETHOVEN WITH BRUNO
Recording Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Bruno Wiel and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is something I simply had to mention in this list. Bruno is a dear friend of mine, and his musicianship is one of old. I do not mean he is old, although he is definitely no spring chicken anymore, but his ways, and his knowledge runs deep. Like that of Gandalf the Grey. He has been a huge inspiration to me, and being able to play my heart out IN AN ORCHESTRA WHILE RECORDING is what he wants from me, and so I give it to him, and it makes for an incredible relationship.
Photography + Improvisation + Dance
A dear friend, Jennifer Toole invited me to be part of her photography exhibit early in January 2016. We brainstormed about what this collaboration would be, and I ended up getting three musicians together, and Jennifer brought in three dancers, and we talked about bringing to life some of the aspects of the Goddesses that Jennifer was capturing on film. We ended up assigning, with deep consideration of each of the artists feelings and ways, a specific Greek Goddess, and then I assigned three musicians, one of which was me, to each dancer, and as they correographed a piece with each other, I had one violin, one cello, and one voice, follow the journey, react and anticipate and provoke the dancers, and we came up with a moment during the exhibit where the Photographer came alive. These collaborations fuels my desire to be an Artist. Thank you to all invovled in that project.
THE FIRE OF APOLLO
Although my year was absolutely wildly busy and crazy, I will end this list with one last short tour that I enjoyed so much, and that was an east coast tour with Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, Apollo's Fire. Jeannette Sorrell is a big mentor for me, especially when considering what it takes to bring a small group of fine string players together and turn them into one of the hottest most saught after Baroque Orchestra's in the World. yes, Jeannette is a force. Thanks for your inspiration and I look forward to working with you again in 2017!!!
Ever since I was a little boy, growing up on ten acres with my mom, dad and sister, some goats, chickens, and my dog Robin, I always listened to CBC. My sister Linden and I would dance around the house to Tchaikovsky, the Brandenburg concertos, you name it. When I was young I figured it was the only station on the radio. In the car I would get to know so many pieces that I grew up to love, and now play, from listening to CBC. It is such an incredible journey to go from hearing the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on the radio, to not only performing and touring with them around the world - but also recording with them! One of the pieces that I will play for you on this show is one that I recorded with Tafelmusik. Some of you might not even realize yet why I'm talking to you about CBC Radio, well, a few weeks ago I was approached to host a show called "This Is My Music". This show airs every Saturday morning at 10:00 AM on CBC Radio 2. So many of my colleagues, mentors, and heroes have hosted this show, and I am so excited to host this one tomorrow morning, December 10th, at 10:00 AM! I wanted to let as many of you know in advance as I could because, even though it is pre-recorded, I haven't even listened to it yet, so it will be an exciting moment. For those of you that are far away, and in other Countries, I believe you can stream it, or even tune in on Satelite radio. Some other people and music that I talk about and share with you are a few new tracks from my latest Album "Fire & Grace with WIlliam Coulter, also one of my favourite tracks from my band ACRONYM, an incredible piece of classical rock and roll performed by Mark Fewer, and so much more!! I'm so excited to share these couple of hours on the radio waves with all of you. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me!!!
The Mystical Soul - Photos by Dean Tomlinson
On November 3rd 2016 Jennifer Nichols and I embarked on an adventure of performing a solo violin and dance piece at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Together we chose The Biber Passacaglia for solo violin as the work, and Jennifer choreographed an incredible 10 minute dance to go along with the piece. The real catch however was the room, and background of the piece. it was an unbelievable painting by Edvard Munch, called The Sunrise. This gorgeous painting hung on the wall just behind Jennifer and I as we danced and played our piece in the gallery three times over the course of the evening. Minutes before we started each set, the crowd would form, eagerly anticipating the performance, which for them, and us, was incredibly unique as there were so many variables! The audience was constantly pushing forward into our performance space to be able to see clearer, yet Jennifer's dance moves kept pushing everyone back again as the circles and movements around the painting as well as myself got bigger and bigger. It was definitely one of those, you had to be there moments in creating art, as so many situations are in the world of art, however Dean Tomlinson, house photographer of the AGO took some gorgeous action shots, and I just thought it would be so lovely to share them with all of you. Please enjoy, and we so look forward to having another chance to make this performance happen again!
on tour. kickin it. playin.