Monday, February 23, 2009

New Approach to a Classical Instrument

There is an article by Zack McMillin in Commercial Appeal, an online paper in Memphis, which talks about violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). I love finding gems like this because it gives me an opportunity to listen to, to discover someone news in the industry - and potentially hear new sounds. DBR is all about new sounds.

He was named one of "The New Faces of Classical Music" in the May 2008 issue of Esquire Magazine. In February 2008, he was featured Interview Magazine as one of the most "Notable Harlemites" alongside Marcia Gay Harden and others. He appears in the November 2008 issue of ZINK magazine in the article "The Perfect Score." MUSO Magazine, Vanderbilt Magazine, New York Radio WNYC have all feature DBR as well. He's making noise of all the right kinds.

Listening to his Voodoo Violin Concerto (below) he is looking at the orchestra and violin and the way they make music in new ways. He starts the performance playing the violin like a mandolin and yet when he does put it under his chin, the music is still unique and rich. There are definitely influences of Cajun rhythms and harmonies, but taken to the next level (maybe three or four levels). The use of percussion, new techniques and yet very tonally based music is exciting to listen to.

This is the sort of direction I want to take my own music - driving rhythms influenced by various folk music elements (I consider rock, jazz and urban modern folk music) which really gets the heart pumping and is entirely classically composed. I'm not quite there with either the string quartet or the violin concerto, but I hope you can hear similarities (see side bar). My music is not quite adventurous enough - after listening to DBR, I think my next piece will be.

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