When the whole world went into lockdown last March 2020, my first response was to dive into binging all of the Ozark seasons and discovering the newest flavors of Trader Joe’s ice creams. But after a few weeks of this routine (and very much-needed r&r…), I started to itch for new projects and sat down to make a list of all the things that I’d never had the time to do before with all of the typical musician’s life of travelling, touring, hustling…
-Top of my list of #pandemicprojects was finally transcribing Dounis’ Daily Dozen for viola.
-Second on the list was messing around with my shoulder rest setup and left-hand thumb positioning, as well as experimenting with the benefits of different bow holds. I had a TOTAL blast with these (!!!), and feel after one year of experimentation, that I’ve added a TON of super exciting new expression tools to my viola toolkit! (More on this in future blog posts!)
-After soaking up inspiration from my amazing colleague and little viola brother Matt Lipman and spectacular students Sophia Gilchenok and Iris Hur, my third project was to finally give the time needed to tackle a piece of music that had kicked my butt for decades: Paganini/Primrose’s La Campanella. My intention was to document my practicing journey on this as I worked to figure out every little (and big!) challenge along the way and share all of the tips and tricks that would help me (and hopefully others) finally feel comfortable navigating this piece – but life did a quick turn and Anna and I found ourselves working around the clock while in quarantine to launch Project: Music Heals Us’ Vital Sounds Initiative bringing music to 6000 COVID patients in 25 hospitals across the country. And so my #pandemicpaganiniproject took a bit of a back seat! I DID, however, keep slowly chipping away at practicing La Campanella until finally mustering the courage to ask Anna to record it with me in May 2021. And so…. I now release this to the world as the first step of my #pandemicpaganiniproject!
As soon as I’m able, I will be releasing something similar to the HOW-TO MANUAL on Zimbalist/Primrose’s Tango from Sarasateana that I created for the American Viola Society almost a decade ago:
I’m hoping to include a number of how-to videos for each tricky passage as well for the “La Campanella” manual – BUT FOR NOW, I’d like to share my first stage of this project with the above performance video of Paganini/Primrose’s “La Campanella”!!
#staytuned for the next stages of this project – coming soon!
(and in the meantime… be sure to drink water!!! lol #oops)