Solo Violin with an Electronic Beat: Interview with LACO Violinist Tereza Stanislav

January 28, 2021, 10:15 PM · Violinist Tereza Stanislav could not have predicted a year ago that her job as Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) would involve recording violin tracks from her home for an online solo performance with electro-acoustic percussion, and then donning a costume mask over a medical mask to make a music video in a downtown LA warehouse.

But here we are. The constraints of a long-lasting pandemic have artists trying new things.

"I've never played anything like this before, and from the second I heard this piece, I immediately loved it," Stanislav said of "Mind the Rhythm," the piece by by Los Angeles-based composer Derrick Spiva Jr. that premieres Friday. (Click here to see the 6:30 PT Friday premiere or to watch it thereafter on demand - it's free.) Below is a conversation I had with Tereza about Spiva's piece, as well as what it's been like for a working classical musician to explore new realms during the pandemic:

When she first played Spiva's piece at home, it attracted the attention of her six-year-old twins. "My girls loved it, they were dancing to it within seconds!" Tereza said.

Tereza's performance is part of a program called LACO Close Quarters -- a mix of music performance, visual art and dance. LACO created the digital series with the aim of "celebrating collaboration in an age of isolation." Once streamed, each performance is available on demand - you can see any previous performance for free by clicking here and scrolling down.

This week's full performance is a program called Mother of Bravery and also includes a piece by the same name by Spiva. The piece "Mother of Bravery" explores the fascinating idea that each person is directly descended from 4,096 ancestors over 12 generations, and how humans have depended on the knowledge and survival of each of those ancestors in order to be alive today.

So far, LACO has streamed six multi-media performances, with plenty more to go. LACO has its own Creative Director of Digital Content -- James Darrah, who has overseen efforts to create these programs specifically for streaming, with the help of L.A.-based artists and filmmakers and using Wilhardt & Naud -- a film studio and multidisciplinary arts campus located in Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles.

Subsequent "Close Quarters" episodes will premiere on Fridays, with more on the way February 12 and 26, March 12 and 26, April 9 and 23, May 7 and 21, and June 4, 2021 -- all at 6:30 pm (PT). Click here for more information.

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