Martin O’Leary in Kenosha, Wisconsin

 

Martin O’Leary

Martin O’Leary writes about a recent visit to Kenosha University, Wisconsin, where two of his works were performed by the Muzika Piano Trio.

My first contact with the Kenosha-based Muzika Piano Trio came about when the trio’s violinist Darlene Rivest contacted me requesting a programme note for my piano trio Bluescape (included on CMC’s CD, Contemporary Music from Ireland, Volume 8), which they were intending to perform as part of an Irish-themed concert around St Patrick’s Day in 2011. As it turned out, they gave a number of performances of the piece over the next few months around the locality of Kenosha and Racine, Wisconsin. They trio sent me a DVD of the performance in Racine and I was very impressed with their performance. As a result, I proposed a new piece which could be premiered by them.

Darlene Rivest, who is also on the staff of the Department of Music at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, arranged for me to visit the college as composer-in-residence from 6–11 March 2013, and this visit culminated in the world premiere of Avanti, in an afternoon concert on 10 March, alongside Bluescape.

Written between September and November of 2012, Avanti, was intended as a complimentary piece, and also a contrast with Bluescape. The latter is a slow piece (with a fast introduction) and the new work is mainly a quickly paced work. The idea was that both pieces could be played together or separately. In fact, both pieces share some of the same basic material, and also conclude with the same notes.

As well as the concert, there was an open rehearsal with the trio, which was instructive both for the audience and the trio, with whom I was able to highlight aspects of the piece. I also met a Carthage College-based Composition club, the Obliggato Club, and gave an illustrated talk to them on my own music. In addition, I gave a public talk on contemporary Irish music (the pieces for which were chosen from either commercial recordings or CMC’s Contemporary Music from Ireland CD series). The events were well received, and there are plans to stage future events, both in Kenosha and back in Ireland.

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