It’s been awhile since we said hi to you all, and wow, what a year!
First the news: Wendy and I are really excited about our big summer projects, namely a new cello/piano CD and our first camp here in Vermont.
The new recording is with the amazing pianist Tim Ray. We have been playing together about five years now, and our CD was recorded in two days in May. The album features some beautiful choros by Brazilian composers Jacob do Bandolim, Ernesto Nazareth and Waldyr Azevedo; our version of Ravel’s “Pavane”; two pieces -- “First Ride” and “Remembering You” -- from previous and out-of-print albums; and several new compositions and improvisations. The CD sounds fantastic, recorded and mixed by Berklee’s Stephen Webber.
We invite you to reserve your autographed pre-release copy! Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for ordering info. As a special gift for the first five pre-orders, we will send you a cassette copy of Eugene’s first cello/piano recording, “New Friend” (now out of print).
Our camp, Vermont Improvising Strings Academy (VISA), starts tomorrow, with public performances Aug. 29 and 30 in Brattleboro's Latchis 4 Theater. (More info on this site!)
In January we completed recording a new Trio Globo CD, our first since 1994. Our new CD, “Steering by the Stars,” will be released this fall and includes all new compositions with some groundbreaking performances by Howard Levy on harmonica and piano and drummer Glen Velez. Stay tuned for news and mixes: http://www.myspace.com/..trioglobo.
This was my first year as a full-time professor at Berklee and it was a wonderful year of teaching with some really memorable musical highlights:
• Last fall Berklee produced a concert with the great Brazilian-born guitarist, composer/arranger Oscar Castro-Neves. I had the privilege of conducting the large orchestra we put together for this event, as well as playing a couple of duets with Oscar. The concert was just spectacular. Oscar has a rare gift of communication and for telegraphing his happiness and mastery through his music. And an evening of Brazilian music usually improves most everyone’s outlook!
• In November, again at the Berklee Performance Center, we gave the debut of “Love Songs of the Americas,” a program featuring the wonderful Mexican singer Mili Bermejo along with her husband Dan Greenspan on bass, Tim Ray on piano, and myself. This repertoire just breaks your heart with melody and harmony but is also really engaging rhythmically. The Berklee Strings joined us in four pieces. There are a couple of excerpts from this concert on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?..v=qYZf3MTkW0U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?..v=j3f4W22br68&feature=related, and plans for a CD are in the works.
• In December the Berklee Jazz/World String Orchestra performed with Chris Berry, the great mbira player/drummer/singer. The concert, “African Solstice,” also featured Jamey Haddad on percussion and Dave Tronzo on electric (and eclectic) guitars. The orchestra played wonderfully well, and we enjoyed the challenge of playing Chris’s music which in some cases are direct transcriptions of complex mbira music scored out for the strings, making the group in effect one large instrument. Jamey Haddad always makes us play better: incredible groove and intelligence abound when he enters the room! Tronzo is a riveting soloist and sound-artist, he creates exotic environments and is an extraordinary listener. This concert also included the premiere of my new piece (written for Wendy) “Sapphire,” which you can experience in its entirety at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?..v=_SOe0hrSvnY
Wendy and I have had some really memorable trips this year: Rio de Janeiro last August for the debut of a new CD with Brazilian harpist/vocalist Cristina Braga; Interlochen, Michigan in September for a Trio Globo residency and concert; Jacksonville, Florida in January for school shows; Kansas in March for concerts with Darol Anger and Phil Aaberg; South and North Carolina for solo shows; Oneonta, New York in April for a string clinic at SUNY; and then to NYC for Paul Winter’s 4:30AM Summer Solstice concert.
For our 2009 calendar and links: http://www.eugenefriesenmusic...com/calendar.shtml
Our life is very lively, sometimes exhausting, never dull, and we feel tremendously blessed to be making music with great musicians and gifted students. We thank you all for your support and interest in our music.