Right Brain: Viola, piano duo to play piece that’s never been heard before | SummitDaily.com

Right Brain: Viola, piano duo to play piece that’s never been heard before

Matthew Dane, shown here in this publicity image, will perform Sunday with pianist David Korevaar at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.

Presented by Summit Music and Arts, violist Matthew Dane and pianist David Korevaar will bring "Dreams and Impressions" on Sunday to Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.

The program will include pieces from Robert Schumann, Georg Philipp Telemann, Willaim Bergsman, Carter Brown, Luigi Perrachio and Darius Milhaud played by two accomplished chamber musicians.

Dane serves as the principal violist for both the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston and Opera Colorado, and associate principal for Arizona MusicFest. He is also a member of both the Boulder Piano Quartet and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, and he has appeared as a soloist with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and the St. Martin's Chamber Choir, among others.

His chamber performances have been broadcast on NPR's "Performance Today" and BBC's "Channel 3," but while Dane enjoys performing, he also relishes his role as a teacher and has served on the faculties of the University of Colorado and Metro State College of Denver, and was tenured at the University of Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, Korevaar performs as a soloist and as a chamber musician around the U.S. and internationally.

In addition to teaching at the University of Colorado, where he holds a fellowship in piano and was named a distinguished research lecturer, Korevaar is a regular at Colorado's Music in the Mountains summer festival, where he serves as a performer and a teacher, while he continues to teach and play in Japan with The Music Center there.

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Earlier this week, Dane spoke with the Summit Daily News over the phone about his upcoming performance.

Summit Daily News: Let's talk about your upcoming performance. What do you think your audience is going to get out of the recital?

Matthew Dane: They will get huge variety, first of all. We're going to stretch the boundaries of what you'd expect from a piano-viola recital. The repertoire is going to be from the baroque period up to a sneak preview of a piece that's never been performed by anyone before.

SDN: The selections include Schumann, Telemann, Bergsma and more. Why those composers? Why those pieces?

MD: David and I chose those together, and there are two pieces that we're really excited to play together. The Schumann piece that we're playing first is really a beautiful romantic piece that was originally for a clarinet and piano but works very well for a viola. The other piece that we're both really excited to do is a piece from the 1960s by William Bergsma … (that features) a set of really intense variations.

In the second half, I know that were going to be really intrigued by a piece by Carter Brown that was written for me. In fact, it's going to be the first time anyone has ever heard it. It's not exactly the premiere because it's going to be premiered later in March in Denver, but this is like a little preview.

And it's written for a viola d'amore, which is a crazy baroque instrument. It has 14 strings, and the piece itself is based on — well, Carter loves the music of the Balkans — so it's basically a Balkan piece for the viola d'amore, which gives it great opportunities. The viola d'amore, it sounds like a Middle Eastern instrument. It has resonating strings. It really sounds quite exotic, so I'd say people are really going to be into that.

SDN: So it's the first time ever that it's been performed for a live audience and it was written for you. What kind of pressure are you feeling to make sure you play it well?

MD: (Laughs) I'm feeling very excited. It will be the first time I've played it for people but I've been looking forward to sharing it with everyone up there. I just think people are going to love it.

SDN: How did you get into playing chamber music? What were the influences in your life that led you to the viola?

MD: Well, there are lots of things. I grew up playing violin. I grew up in a small town in Maine, and I was very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities (with violin and viola). I went to study in college and spent a few years in Germany where I studied the viola exclusively, very intensively, for a few years. I love playing and I love teaching also, and I feel like that goes together, many years playing and teaching at the university level, and I love doing both.

SDN: Why the viola? What is it about that instrument resonates with you?

MD: Since I'll be playing two instruments, I'll tell you about each one because they're a little different.

The viola, I've played it for decades, and I feel like, to me, I've always been attracted to that voice in music. People often consider it to be the most human, the closet in ringing to the human voice. I've always enjoyed that — I've enjoyed the solos of the instrument.

The viola d'amore is a fairly new instrument to me.

I just started playing it about four years ago. To me, there's a complete different sound color, and that's what is so exciting about it.

It sounds exotic. It's intimate and quite a bit softer. It doesn't project very well, but what it does project is this kind of space and openness. It just sounds completely different than a viola. I think, in the concert hall we're playing in Breckenridge, I think people will appreciate the way it resonates verse the traditional string instruments.

SDN: What inspires you?

MD: Well, I have to admit there's a lot of music that I love, and I do get a lot of inspiration from that. But I think I get inspired by human experience more than anything.

I feel like, in classical music, there is this world of understanding and experience that we don't have and that we can learn from. I feel like I do get a lot of inspiration from that repertoire.

With the viola d'amore, I feel like my inspiration has been a little more diverse because I realize it has a great capacity to do Middle Eastern music, Eastern European music, Indian music, things like that, which I really hadn't been exposed to much before I started playing the viola d'amore.

SDN: Did you always know you were going to be a musician?

MD: Honestly, probably not. I didn't know that until later. It was probably when I was in college that I realized I wanted to do this with my life.

SDN: Getting back to your Sunday recital. Tell me about David. I see his work has been called a "musical epiphany." Would you say that's accurate?

MD: David is a great player. We've known each other for about 10 years and been playing recitals on and off the entire time. We do a lot of playing together both just the two of us and in the piano quartet we have.

He's a great friend and a fantastic person to work with. It's a great thrill always to have a chance to perform with him.

If you go

What: “Dreams and Impressions” featuring violist Matthew Dane and pianist David Korevaar

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, March 5

Where: Finkel Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College, 107 Denison Placer Road, Breckenridge

Info: Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Students 18 and under are free. Go to SummitMusicAndArts.org or call 970-389-5788.