Chamber Music Camp - 2016

August 6, 2016, 6:47 PM · In a week, I'll be heading off to my 10th year at Interlochen's Adult Chamber Music Camp. This year is going to be an extra special and challenging year on several fronts. Special because my first ever private viola teacher, Dr. Creider will be attending, and challenging because of the music that I'll be playing outside of the scheduled organized readings. Most of the pieces listed below I'll be playing with Dr. Creider.

The first piece is a flash-back of my early days with Dr. Creider - the Telemann Viola Concerto. This will be played with an all viola orchestra with a different violist playing each movement. Dr. Creider will be playing the first movement, and I will be following her in the second movement. The first time I studied this piece was with Dr. Creider back in the early 1980's, and finally revisited a year ago with my current teacher. I have yet to decide whether to play this with a baroque bow or not.

The second piece I'll be playing is the seldom played Dvorak Sextet. This will be my first time playing this piece with an ensemble. Though it seems straight forward enough, I'm certain there will be surprises when its played as a group.

The third piece is one that I will be attempting with much trepidation: Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night), at the request of Dr. Creider. It took a bit of effort to find other campers willing and able to play this piece, but a group was formed early enough this year to give everyone ample time to get ready for it. I spent months just listening to recordings and following along with the score before ever picking up the viola to work on my "simple" second viola part.

The fourth piece is Mendelssohn's Octet. It is a staple piece I play every year. This year I'll be taking on the "easier" second viola part and sharing the stand with a good friend.

The fifth piece is Vieuxtemp's Viola Sonata - 2nd movement. I'm especially anxious about this particular piece since the pianist and I will only be able to rehearse it together at camp, and that it will be played under the scrutiny of a master's class in front of my peers and two of my past viola teachers (yes, two!).

Then there is the piece I'll be getting coaching on every day: Dvorak's piano quintet. In this particular case, I have a bit of a head start. My ensemble at home is studying the Dumka movement and will have had two professional coaching sessions on it before camp starts. This is a very good thing given that this particular movement has many "viola moments".

And finally, the "piece de resistance" - a piece for three violas that I'll be playing with my first private viola teacher and the teacher I had in Oregon prior to moving to Texas: Michael Kimber's "Reflection". Ironically, the only youtube video is the one I had made about 5 years ago. Back then, I had emailed the composer with a link to this recording, and got a response back praising us on our interpretation along with a the story behind the piece (it was premeired at Interlochen). I emailed him again last week letting him know that I'll be playing this piece yet again, and this time at Interlochen with two of my past teachers. I got a reply the next day with words of persuation to have it recorded and sent to him again.

This will be a summer of going full circle both with music and music teachers. Lord willing, I will do this vast repertoire of music the justice it deserves inside of a single week.


August 7, 2016 at 03:30 AM · Remember your goal is vacation and to have fun is foremost important. Have fun!

August 11, 2016 at 03:30 AM · This sounds awesome! I've been playing viola chamber music lately, particularly the Schubert cello quintet. It has two violins, two cellos, and one viola (me). It's interesting to be outnumbered, and also to be sometimes with the higher strings and sometimes with the lower strings. It really shows the versatility of the viola as a chamber instrument :-)

August 11, 2016 at 04:25 PM · Thanks, Mendy, for giving me a peek into such a varied quartet literature. I started playing chamber music in January (viola) and am so excited about it. (It was a major reason I switched to viola.) I'm sure you'll have fun even if it is a lot of work.

Karen, thanks for stating your own recent experience in chamber music.

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