Friday, September 16, 2011

Performing Chamber Music

Last night, I had the opportunity to take part in a faculty chamber music collaboration that featured nine School of Music faculty members. This was the inaugural event in the University of Florida School of Music Faculty Chamber Music Series.  Nine faculty members were involved in the concert.

The work I performed was Charades, a piece for violin, tenor saxophone and piano by Sherwood Shaffer.  Shaffer was my college theory professor at the North Carolina School of the Arts.  His first work for saxophone, Summer Nocturne, was dedicated to me and is on my CD American Music for Saxophone and Piano  that was released earlier this year.

Charades is, as the title suggests, a parlor game played by the three instruments.  The program as depicted in the music has the instruments taking turns presenting their “charade” while the other instruments try to guess it.  Sometimes they will guess correctly, pat each other on the back and continue the game.  Sometimes they are not such good sports and quarrels ensue.

One of the great joys of music is the privilege of sharing the stage with fantastic colleagues. Whether performing in a duo with a pianist, cellist or percussionist; playing chamber music with a mixed ensemble or saxophone quartet; joining the traditional orchestra; or presenting a thrilling concerto performance; collaboration is one thing that makes performing music such a great experience.  I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some very fine musicians during the course of my career. I owe them a debt of gratitude for helping to shape the musician that I am today.