August 2017 Convention
Minneapolis, MN

Minnesota Composers II

 

 

A highlight of this year’s convention was performing “Breathing” by Eleanor Hovda with a group of current and former New Music Advisory committee members. I’m very grateful to Uwe Grodd for conducting the piece with such sensitivity and allowing us the space to play with the parameters set up by the composer. Paul Taub gave a beautiful rendition of the solo part and also helped to guide the interpretation for all of us.

Our rehearsals were an enjoyable blend of experimentation and practice plus a bit of healthy debate from time to time. Ultimately I think we came up with a very convincing performance of the work, and I was honored to be part of such an amazing group of flutists.

Our rehearsal on Saturday afternoon was particularly meaningful for me. That was the day that terrible events were taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia, a town where I lived for several years and have many friends. I started seeing bits and pieces of the news on social media that afternoon and was experiencing a lot of emotions: anxiety, anger, sorrow, and distress.

Then we had our rehearsal for the Hovda. Playing this piece requires long, slow breaths, both in and out, and focusing attention on subtle details both in playing and in listening to others. I found that it had a calming effect on me, and that rehearsal was a powerful reminder for me of the ways that music can shift our state of being and offer us precious moments of clarity and connection.

—Wayla J. Chambo

 

photo by Brian Covington