Violin Intergalactic

Alina 2006

I heard Russian born violinist Alina Ibragimova, age 27, last Saturday at the Seattle Symphony, playing the Beethoven violin concerto, followed by four standing ovations and an encore of Bach’s Andante from the Sonata #2 in A Minor for solo violin.

I was already familiar with Ms. Ibragimova’s playing from her sublime recording of the complete Bach sonatas and partitas. I loved the elegance, restrained passion and unique warmth of her interpretations and had already placed her in my “Intergalactic” category of Bach interpreters.

But I was unprepared for the intensity and palpable sensuousness of her live musical presence.

Oaxaca: Art is Everywhere

Oaxacan Embroidery

I just returned from nearly two weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico, where art is everywhere. I am not talking about Precious Art that you only see in galleries and museums, often separated from daily life by entrance fees and a tiresome aura of cultural superiority. I am talking about art that lives in the hearts of local artisans and is expressed through the creation of beautiful objects for everyday use: prints; jewelry; ceramics; weaving; embroidery; wood carving and metalwork. Vendors could choose to sell any number of foreign-made trinkets to visiting tourists, but when possible, the vast majority prefer to create and offer their own work .This artistic pride stretches back to pre-hispanic times. Oaxaca was always a major center for skilled and sophisticated art production.

New Year Bachfest

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Around the time of the Year Turning, between Solstice, January first and my birthday, I light candles, review accomplishments, deepen friendships and plan for the future.

The planning for the future portion always brings me back to my collection of forty-eight Chaconne Series thumbnail sketches, only three inches square each, folded together into cycles of twelve, so I can more easily follow the transitions between individual drawings. I unfold the sections of twelve thumbnails into a big block on my studio floor so I can study the whole sequence together.

Violin Dreams

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In the past week, I have been re-reading violinist Arnold Steinhardt's immensely entertaining and passionate musical memoir, Violin Dreams.

You don't have to be a violinist to appreciate his story.

Cymatics

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Is that one of my drawings on the cover of this book?

The answer is no. The image is one of many remarkable photographs of the invisible "vibrational world" made visible, taken by Dr. Hans Jenny, a Swiss medical doctor, natural scientist, artist, musician, and philosopher. His book, Cymatics, (after the Greek "Ta Kymatica", matters pertaining to waves) documents the extraordinary research of this modern day (1904-1972) Renaissance man.

In Search of Tao-Chi

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On a visit to the Arthur Sackler Museum in Boston few weeks ago, I discovered that paintings by my seventeenth-century Chinese art hero, Tao-Chi, were all in storage awaiting the completion of a new museum. Many other excellent painting and calligraphy pieces were available for viewing however, and I passed the afternoon in blissful study. In the photo, I am following my usual custom of physically recreating the artist's calligraphic brush movements in order to feel the rhythm of the work even better.

It had been an in-person encounter with Tao-Chi's paintings in the British Museum, many years ago, that had placed me on a path of artistic pilgrimage to search out his work wherever I could...

Champagne on Table

After many months of research, design, and inevitable delays, my new website is finally finished.

As you can see from the photo above, a delicious celebration is being planned for those involved in its creation.  My thanks to Linda Campbell of Campbell Design for the elegant page design and good-natured coordination of a myriad of tedious details, and to audio/technical whiz David Bilides for helping with stubborn coding issues and posting the musical excerpts on the “About Bach’s Chaconne” page. I think you will enjoy this site’s unusual and striking combination of visual and musical artistry.

I just do the art and by comparison, my job is easy.

I have been saving this bottle for just the right time, and that time would be…now!