All posts tagged: classical music

The music of the Ciompi Quartet

On a recent bright winter day, the members of the Ciompi Quartet gathered at Duke University to play. Inside the airy concert hall space of Baldwin Auditorium, the quartet started, stopped, and tweaked the way they played. An audio technician sat to the side with a laptop and recording equipment for the session. Negotiations abounded. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the group played with their masks on. And then there were the discussions with the composers, both in person and over Zoom, on how to best approach their pieces. The four pieces were by students in Duke’s Music Department. The music was challenging, abstract, moody, with discordant melodies, full of feelings of disconnection and isolation. The music uncomfortably heightened what was going on in the world. One of the pieces was even called, “Disconnected.” After one successful “take,” viola player Jonathan Bagg asked, “How did that sound to you, James?” The composer, himself taken aback by the beauty of the quartet’s playing, had to snap back to reality before responding, “That was great. Thank you.” Despite …

Lucia Micarelli’s performance of “Kashmir”

If you can, wait until night to watch this video. This is not just another classical music concert. A violinist plays barefoot, wild yet controlled just enough. Her sound on the violin is smooth, the kind of smoothness that you think would lead to overthinking and coddling the violin. But she is more free, and passionate and graceful. She also plays barefoot, a preference of hers. This is Lucia Micarelli’s performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Pay attention to the build up, half crazed, to the moment at the 2:45 mark when the first note for Kashmir drops. The entire stadium’s soul feels elated. This is the kind of artistry you want to rhapsodize about. Micarelli is one of the young stars in current classical music. Born in Queens in 1983 to a Korean mother and an Italian father, Micarelli began studying violin, piano and dance when she was three years old. When she was six years old, she was a violin soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. By age 11, she was studying at the …