Monday, May 18, 2009

Lunchtime Concert Series

The Whitehead Institute (biomedical research center right next to my lab) puts on a free concert about once a month for an hour during lunch.

It's a fantastically refreshing thing to attend in the middle of the day. The artists that come are quite high class too (seems like they all either went to Juilliard, played in the Boston Symphony, or did both). The arts are so alive in Boston!

The first one I went to had the following program:

Performers: Christina Wright, piano, and Sharon Cohen, violin.
Pieces: Brahms' Sonata for Piano and Violin, Op. 47, "Kreutzer"; Janacek's Piano Sonata "From the Street"; J.S. Bach's Partita for Solo Violin in d minor; Franck's Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major

The one today was outstanding:
Performers: Carmen Rodriguez-Peralta, piano, and Luis Leguia, cello.
Rayner Taylor's Solo for Cello and Piano;
Luis Leguia's Memories;
Heitor Villa-Lobos' O Canto Do Cysne Negro (Song of the Black Swan);
Brahms' Sonata No. 1 E Min, Op. 38;
Alberto Ginastera's Pampeana No. 2 Rapsodia para Violincello y Piano

All of these were great! I find myself often thinking that the cello gets my pick for the most beautiful instrument.
The last piece was my favorite: diverse in sound and style throughout. It unabashedly explored the FULL extent of the fingerboard, and it had really beautiful harmonic chords. I've got to convince Jennifer to learn this one!!!

So, this cellist also makes instruments. Apparently, he desired a more "beautiful and penetrating cello"than those he had played for a long time, so he eventually ended up building CARBON FIBER CELLOS. You can read more about them at
It's quite apparent that the one he played with gave a fuller, bolder, more resounding sound than a traditional wooden one. It is quite a distinct sound to hear, but one that I certainly was impressed with.
The instruments look realllly sleek too! All black and shiny like a sweet airplane part :)
(I wonder why he doesn't play with a carbon fiber bow though, since those are quite common....)

I'm in the middle of selecting a new violin for purchase and now I really want to try and play one of their carbon fiber violins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(I didn't actually get to see Yo-Yo Ma playing a carbon fiber cello. But I can dream....)

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