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Today's leading voices in composition explore family through a series of short works for violin inspired by photographs.
Today's leading voices in composition explore family through a series of short works for violin inspired by photographs.
72 backers pledged $16,042 to help bring this project to life.

About

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In 2014, I released an album called, Music from the Suitcase, on which I explored a collection of works my family brought over to the United States when we immigrated from the USSR in 1990. The album was encapsulated in features from The New York Times and NPR's All Things Considered. Creating Suitcase immeasurably helped shape me as an artist and allowed me to explore my family's story and cultural history.

I am continuing down this path of exploration with a new project, Meditations on Family. When my immediate family left the USSR, a lot of our relatives stayed behind. Laws and regulations at the time meant we had no idea where in the US we’d end up, or if we'd ever be reunited with the rest of our family. As we disappeared behind the security gate at the Minsk airport in 1989, my grandparents didn't think they'd see us again. Amazingly, over two years later, my paternal grandparents were able to move to the US. Someone snapped a picture of our family's first meeting at the airport in Albany. I recently ran across this photo and it captivated me. The expressions, especially on my grandfather's face, are pure magic. Being a musician, this photo immediately evoked music in my mind.

Reunited with my grandparents (top left) at the Albany airport after they waited two years for refugee status back in the USSR.
Reunited with my grandparents (top left) at the Albany airport after they waited two years for refugee status back in the USSR.

Family plays such a profound, complex influence on who we all grow up to be. Nostalgia, joy, frustration, togetherness, disconnection... these powerful emotions form family. With this project I hope to zoom in closer on some of these experiences through both music and visual mediums. I'm asking a number of leading, diverse voices in composition today to choose their own family photo to translate into a short musical miniature for violin and various ensemble. Some of those involved include Joseph Schwantner, Andreia Pinto Correia, Gity Razaz, Timo Andres, Chris Cerrone, Kinan Azmeh, Gregory Vajda, and Paola Prestini.

My plan is to record these works in the summer, and premiere them one at a time in the fall of 2018, through an online platform. The platform will feature a recorded performance of the musical commission, an interview with each composer, the photo itself, and a place for listeners to interact with the music and share their own experiences. Over time, I hope to create a living archive devoted to musical meditations on family, by adding on new commissions from today's most vibrant composers and artists exploring the subject.

This project is no small undertaking, and I hope you will consider joining me to make it become a reality. In addition to the costs of each commission, each work will require special care to bring to life. We will need an engineer, producer, extra musicians, recording spaces, and recording equipment. As these are new works (the ink is still drying!), they will require ample rehearsal time with other collaborators. Because this is not a traditional physical CD, we will also need to build a website and system for effectively getting the music out to as many people as quickly and easily as possible. Your support would make this all possible. 

I made my first recording with the help of Kickstarter and 88 wonderful backers in 2011. I am confident in this project and in this process, and can't wait to share these stories with you. 

THANK YOU!

Risks and challenges

I've worked hard for over a year to prepare for this new project, and there are still many challenges ahead. The nature of new composition means my artistic collaborators and I will have to study and prepare for the recordings very quickly, much more so than if the repertoire were established and known. Additionally, figuring out a way to get the music out to listeners, effectively and simply, without the traditional route of a physical CD will require added ingenuity, time, and work.

I have been been directly involved with conceptualizing, producing, and executing three solo albums so far (with the help of some very talented colleagues) so I feel that I am prepared to tackle this new, unique project. I have learned that projects like this require "in the moment" creativity and flexibility, external support, and at times a willingness to accept something other than what one originally envisions.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Honorable Mention!

    See your name in lights! It will be listed under the honorable mentions section of my Meditations project website.

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    Private Track

    I have music in the vault! Enjoy a private, unreleased track of mine (for your ears only!). Also, see your name in lights! It will be listed under the honorable mentions section of my Meditations website.

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    Drinks and Awkward Conversation

    Next time you're in Boston, or I'm in your city, let's get a drink! You can also watch me engage in awkward conversation, as I am known to do. I will also send you a personal note, my private, unreleased track (for your ears only!) and will list you on the project website.

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    Sneak Peek

    All of the above plus I'll send you a private, protected link to hear some of the new pieces in advance of release, while they are still being edited and not publicly available. You'll be in on the experience from the ground up!

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    Release Party VIP Invite

    I'm planning on celebrating this project and I'm planning on inviting YOU! Plus, you'll get the above rewards.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Violin Lesson with... Me.

    I can't promise you'll become a virtuoso, but I can promise you a couple of callouses. The lesson can take place in person or via skype. Also, all of the above.

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    Co-Commission Credit

    Automatically become a co-commissioner of one of the pieces in this project. Your name will be associated with the particular piece for future performances. Also, all of the above.

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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Producer

    Get involved with the process by sitting in on a recording session. You'll also get a producer credit! And, all of the above.

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    Join the "Board"

    Come on board and help in an advisory capacity for this project. We'll talk about future projects, artistic decisions, goals, etc. Plus, all of the above.

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    Play an Artistic Role

    Let's have a conversation and find a composer that interests us both. In a future season we can commission him/her to write a piece about a photo of yours (or theirs) to be recorded by me and become a part of the archive. Plus, all of the above.

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    Pledge $6,500 or more About $6,500

    Artistic Role and Private Concert

    As above, and I will also come to your house to play a private recital for you and your friends during the 2018-2019 season. (Fine Print: Travel expenses not included)

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Funding period

- (30 days)