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Joshua Iyer

Strads and Cremona, 'Suessical', and 'Psycho' :)

March 23, 2015 15:37

So on Saturday this week, my violin and I are heading off to Italy with the orchestra to play in three concerts, which I believe we're playing in churches in several spots. We're visiting places like Rome and Florence and on the last day, we're going to Cremona to visit the Strad Museum, which I'm very excited for! I've spent this last weekend doing a lot of listening to lots of music, and practicing for rehearsals and thinking on the musical side of things, that I haven't spent much time thinking about how this magical object is put together. In class today, we watched a video documentary on just that, featuring some of the talented violinists of our time discussing playing on these instruments, so I just wanted to share that with all of you. I will certainly try to post an entry when we get back from Italy next Saturday recounting all the sights and concerts we played in. :)

Secondly, although this applies more to after the trip, I had my first rehearsal for Suessical the Musical today! I'm playing first violin, and it should be a ton of fun to play through this music with a much larger strings section than with Shrek from over the summer, where they just had two violins. Our director is talking about us reading Dr. Suess books to help us get in the mood, since the musical is a fantastic blend of a lot of great Suess stories, which gets my inner child happy, and also brings back a ton of nostalgia of reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to my sister when I was six (she was three). She also did the junior version of this musical when she was in fourth grade, and I remember listening to some of the Broadway versions and hearing the orchestra in the car. I'm sure I'll talk a lot more about the show in the future, as we're just sight-reading everything these next few days, but it should still be great.

So yeah! That's about everything. Oh, and for the Pops concert this year, our orchestra and Chamber Strings are playing a 15ish minute suite from "Psycho"! I'm super excited for that, since I love this score by Bernard Herrmann in 1960. I was just watching the BBC Proms 2011 Film Night concert yesterday (and the Star Trek music from the Hollywood in Vienna 2013) and heard the Psycho stuff. It's cool cause it's meant for just strings, and, well, that's what the Orchestra Pops Concert is all about! And since I'm a senior, this is the last one for me... Anyways, hope you enjoyed this entry, and be sure to check out the video below!

Violin Masters Video And I liked Joshua Bell's comment about how if he doesn't want to practice, he opens up his case, sees his remarkable instrument, and decides to practice, I guess for me, I can listen to my own violin concerto maybe, or watch this video or other violin videos I've done in the past, and see how I could improve my own sound, then I'll open up my case, see my favorite object ever, and then be happy and play the night (or morning or afternoon) away... :)

And on a somewhat related note, it's my third year on violinist.com! :)

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First Live Orchestra Premiere! - 'Into the Forest' for Strings and Piano

March 11, 2015 13:43

Last evening was my very first premiere of my own composition: “Into the Forest”, by the WVHS Symphonic Strings! It was very cool, first off, to have all of my friends supporting me in the audience and some of the adults too very impressed with my work. My teacher gave a huge speech at the beginning about my composing and all that which was really cool. I also noticed just how much my orchestra has bonded throughout this whole school year, and how it will be sad to leave everyone next year. I’ve been with a few of the same people since beginning to learn the violin in 5th grade, and it’s cool to look back on all the fun times we’ve had before preparing to leap forward. In my piece, we had a grand piano tucked in the back which was awesome, and several soloists who really did a fantastic job on realizing how I wanted these solos to sound and pictured when I wrote them, and we stayed together as a group wonderfully. It’s just so cool to have come full circle on this piece, since I began writing it to now. I’ll put a link to the YouTube video below so you can enjoy a trip into the forest. :)

I began writing this piece in 2014 in February, as an entry to some contest. In 2015, when my teacher suggested we play it, I had two sessions of making changes, and it was cool because the orchestra provided me with feedback to help me continue writing the second draft. The piece takes the listener on an adventure through the forest; Mr. Burck describes it as “movie music”. One thing that was difficult is that I changed sections throughout, which creates a nice contrast of styles a little bit, yet not too much so – I had to still keep in the original style of the piece. It was cool getting a grand piano within the orchestra for the piece as well, and although I chose to play on violin, my friend who did play did a fantastic job. Originally, the piano melody was on harp, so lots of techniques were switched around to better suit the piano. And overall, the final product is as Mr. Burck says in the beginning of the video, and it's cool to look back at when I composed it, and thinking of the compositional techniques I used, like 9 and 11 chords, and some of the inspiration (look back at entries from the past two months when we began this piece for learning it).

Overall, I had a fantastic time, and got a load of congrats and compliments by a lot of people after, so it was a cool event. Hopefully you'll take a listen below! It was kind of bad, I had some last-minute fingerings at the end with my teacher... Overall, it sounded great, I think. Thanks for reading!


Listen to the piece!

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Previous entries: February 2015

ASTA 2015

At the American String Teachers Association Conference

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