Left Coast Chamber Ensemble presents a program they’re calling ‘Air from Other Planets’ this Saturday and Monday nights, with music of Mozart, Schoenberg, and two world premieres. One of those, by guitarist John Schott, is a duet for LCCE’s guitarist Michael Goldberg and violist Phyllis Kamrin.
There’s more information about the concerts at the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble website.
Schott and Goldberg have been friends for many years, and although they play different kinds of music (Schott more frequently plays an electric guitar, and frequently in more experimental jazz configurations) there is great respect for each tradition. “I was a very serious classical guitarist at 19,” Schott says, “And that led me, ultimately from Bach to Beethoven and Brahms, Schoenberg, and Berg and Webern and Stravinsky, and on to 20th Century classical composers. And ultimately, since there wasn’t a repertoire by those composers for guitar, I ended up moving in a different direction.” He’s written for LCCE before, and leaped at the chance to compose for Goldberg and Kamrin. “I had long wanted to write a piece for these people, these individual people, and the instruments they play. So it was an opportunity to play tribute to these neighbors of mine who I think so highly of. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to write a little bit in the idiom of what I had wished to have the opportunity to play at that time, in some way.” The piece is called Movement for Viola and Guitar (Eye Contact) and Kamrin says it treats their parts equally. “The problem with guitar and composing is often the guitar is treated as an accompanimental instrument. And Michael was like, ‘I’m not interested in going ‘oom chunk, oom chunk.’ And so, we always just tried to find pieces that had stuff for both of us.” And Goldberg says the training Schott had, and his many years since, give the piece a unique sound. “He’s written something that really is different than most things you encounter on the classical guitar, even within the contemporary music world… Because he’s a guitarist, he can find all these interesting sounds, where you have clusters of sounds that are only possible with certain fingerings. It creates a kind of a different sound world.”