just a quick post about a new music concert i went to on friday. kalistos is a relatively new new music ensemble in boston (that incidentally just achieved non-profit status). this string orchestra’s concert on friday at longy was uniquely programmed: one short solo work for bansri (indian flute) followed by four works by four different boston composers featuring soloists on koto (japanese plucked stringed instrument), violin, piano, and viola.
as one might expect of a contemporary concert the majority of the music was rather shorter on ideas and longer on textures, but hands down the real find was joanna kurkowicz, the solo violinist who i can’t believe i haven’t come across before. it is no exaggeration to say that it has been a very, very long time since i have heard as thrilling or magnetic a performer as kurkowicz, so much so that i practically rushed home to look her up online. her website has some great sound clips, although as with many other performers the recordings fail to do justice to her live virtuosity and presence. her performance of indian composer korde’s “cranes dancing” made sense of the sprawling, episodic, and (thanks in no small part to her) ultimately engaging work, and she led the orchestra in a deeply musical interpretation. her performance, although informed by a more romantically slavic style, had a glenn gouldian level of clarity of line and expression. and i don’t think i’ve ever heard such sheerly beautiful harmonics and glissandi (haha). anyway, you can be sure that i’ll be attending her next performance in boston, which i believe is the chameleon arts ensemble’s may concert at the goethe-institut. ok, enough gushing.