glass notes
Glass Notes: Dispatches from the road with Maki Namekawa & Dennis Russell Davies

Friday night Maki Namekawa presented her first solo performance of The Complete Piano Etudes in Brooklyn with the composer in attendance at National Sawdust in collaboration with Ars Electronica who provided visuals choreographed the the music.  Parts of the evening were caught on Periscope.

Namekawa and her piano duo partner then headed to our nation’s capital for a two piano concert at the esteemed Phillips Collection of music.  This highly anticipated event, which was billed as a tribute to Glass at 80, in fact turned into so much more.  Anne Midgette of the Washington Post perfectly captured the essence of the recital in her Monday review “Two Pianists Show The Difference Between Playing and Performing.”

It was a great experience to be embedded, like a journalist, on the road with two high operating musicians. I was witness to an incredible level of professionalism, discipline, stamina.  The whole experience was a glimpse into something more than a professional life and more of a calling, a vocation.

Among the firsts I experienced on this trip, was my initiation as a page turner for the piano duo in Washington.  A quick note to the beginners: do not make your first page turning experience Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Somehow I (barely) survived the experience with the piece now committed to deep memory thanks to the type of memorization that is fueled by pure panic and adrenaline.

Shortly after the concert, Davies and Namekawa disappeared into the night, off to the airport to Europe. Namekawa was preparing for a recital only three days hence, and Davies would conduct Verdi’s Falstaff less than 48 hours after concluding his American tour which began with the world premiere of Glass’ Eleventh Symphony at Carnegie Hall, celebrated the centenary of Lou Harrison, and finished with a rousing performance of Glass’ Four Movements for Two Pianos in Washington.