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Wednesday, November 21 • 13:45 - 14:45
Composer-Performer Collaboration

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1. "Old wine, new bottles"
Hsiaopei Lee (viola), Chih-Chen Wei (composer)
Repertoire: Going Nowhere, Being Nobody (world première)

2. "From seed to première"
Anna Pelczer (viola) and Yoshiaki Onishi (composer)
Repertoire: (IV) "Betwixt-times" from Les six aspects du néant (Six aspects of nothingness) (world première)

This unique Lecture-Recital features two young composers and their collaboration with two young violists. Their works will be world premiered at this occasion. The Talk Show in the Theatre foyer, immediately following this session, will further elaborate and discuss the topic of composing for the viola.

Program Notes: 

Chih-Chen Wei:
Humming a single and simple melody might be a relaxing and enjoyable moment for everyone. No matter whether she or he is a musician or not. However, creating an original and meaningful melody
might be difficult for most of us.
Composition is very interesting but also very painful for me. When I first studied composition in college, I dare to write a beautiful and singing melody. I was afraid that people would think I don’t know how to compose. It seemed that we, as a composer student, had to write something very difficult and something people don’t understand, so they would think I was a good composer student.
However, this thought was completely changed after I went to Los Angeles in United States. This lecture-recital will talk about how I use simple, beautiful, tonal melodies and folk songs, in my composition. As regards the title to this abstract, “Old Wine” could be related to folk song and old melodies. “New Bottle” will represent a new composition. Using folks are one of the resources for composers. “How to restore ancient ways” and “how to rebirth oldness” are the ways to give the folks a new life. This is a 20-minute single piece, and it presents how I mixed my own composition and a 11-measure folk song. I will perform the entire piece at the end of this lecture. This will be a world premiere for this piece.

Anna Pelczer:
As a violist committed to the music of today, I collaborate with contemporary composers in order to develop new works to expand the standard repertoire. In contemporary music practice, often, composers and performers collaborate only for one single piece and for a short period of time. As a contrast, I propose a lecture-recital with my collaborator, composer Yoshiaki Onishi, that features one successful example of a collaborative model for performers and composers that already spans over a decade. In the first part, we will jointly present our working process that that culminated in Le quatrième pressentiment, a piece for viola solo that I commissioned him to compose. In particular, we will demonstrate in a detailed and transparent manner, the elements of collaboration required to achieve the musical result that that we mutually desired. In the second part, I will give the world premiere of the work.
I first met composer Yoshiaki Onishi during university where we were both working towards a Master’s Degree at the Yale School of Music. From the beginning, I found the unique sound of his compositions particularly intriguing and convincing – there was an authenticity and honesty to his music, rather than just being demonstrative and predictable.

In my own study of the viola, I wanted to be convinced by and be convincing in my playing, so I found a kindred spirit in Yoshi’s compositions even before we became collaborators. A free afternoon in April of 2007 confirmed my impression and has served as the basis for much of my motivations for becoming a performer and professional musician since.

On this day, Yoshi asked if I would consult on a potential composition for strings. As a proficient clarinetist, he was intimately aware of the capabilities of wind instruments, but the idea of extending playing techniques for strings required a colleague who could honestly evaluate and productively inform him on his ideas. We spent over three hours in a music school studio, starting with traditional technique and its ranges, and then testing and experimenting with the instrument as a blank canvas. Some suggestions were humourous, some proved to be more effort than payoff – but others were surprisingly successful, creating even sounds normally associated with non-musical contexts. Then came the process of creating a notation for this new language – Yoshi was very open to my suggestions, inventing straightforward symbols to represent the new effects we were discovering. I recently found out that the recordings we made ten years ago are still being used as the reference for Yoshi’s compositions, a fact I find very flattering and at the same time, rather unsurprising, since our work was so through. At this meeting, Yoshi and I discussed collaborating on a piece together – after ten years of personal and professional development, our situations have finally aligned to allow for its creation.

My development as a violist began like that of many others – finding the cello unwieldy, my parents gifted me with a violin whose study occupied me into my university years. In my development as a musician however, I became increasingly aware of an indescribable discontent – what was available from the instrument was ever more misaligned with my potential artistic inclinations. A lucky misunderstanding led to a sudden exposure to the viola, and through intense and concentrated study, I grew to realise the potential of this voice and my possible role in its promotion. The viola became a vehicle for adventure, and I was taught to explore it for its own identity and voice, rather than as a point of comparison to its instrumental cousins. With this approach, it was possible to find a convincing character for the viola itself through self-reference and exploration, rather than mimicking the familiar or expected sounds of a violin or a cello. A curiosity for the possible led me to a multi-faceted study of the instrument, including training in baroque playing, improvisation, and popular styles, in addition to a continuing advocacy of classical music through collaboration with living composers on pieces written exclusively for the viola.

avatar for Anna Pelczer

Anna Pelczer

Starting with professional engagements at the Beethoven Orchester and the Badische Staatskapelle,Hungarian-American violist Anna Pelczer has become a sought-after guest orchestral leader both in Germany and abroad. Recent performances have brought her to the Philharmonie Baden-Baden... Read More →
avatar for Chih-Chen Wei

Chih-Chen Wei

Composer, University of Southern California (USA)
Chih-Chen Wei is an active composer. Her composition "Between Stream and Hills V -Odyssey" is available in the album "Viola Works by American Female Composers,"Centaur Records (CRC 3332), recorded by violist Hsiaopei Lee and pianist ChialingHsieh; “Farewell” in the album “Ten... Read More →
avatar for Hsiaopei Lee

Hsiaopei Lee

University of Southern Mississippi (USA)
Hsiaopei Lee, Taiwanese violist, joined the string faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall of 2005. She has previously taught viola and chamber music at the Starling String Project, University of Cincinnati. Additionally she coached many talented violists as... Read More →
avatar for Yoshiaki Onishi

Yoshiaki Onishi

Japanese-American composer and conductor Yoshiaki Onishi received his doctorate in music composition from Columbia University (USA) in 2015. As a composer, he has worked on commissions that have come from such festivals and organizations as Philharmonie Luxembourg, Takefu International... Read More →

Wednesday November 21, 2018 13:45 - 14:45 CET
Hofplein Rotterdam, Main Theatre Benthemstraat 13, 3032 CC Rotterdam, Netherlands

Attendees (3)