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After a decade of collaborative music making with Silk Road Ensemble & Brooklyn Rider, I'm recording my first solo album. Join me!
After a decade of collaborative music making with Silk Road Ensemble & Brooklyn Rider, I'm recording my first solo album. Join me!
296 backers pledged $33,541 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$33,541

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Hello everyone. My name is Johnny Gandelsman. You may know me as a member of Brooklyn Rider and Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. Some of you may have supported one or both Brooklyn Rider campaigns on Kickstarter. 

Early in 2015 I embarked on my first ever solo project - performing all of JS Bach's works for violin solo. Over the course of about 10 months I traveled around the US, performing the complete set of three Sonatas & three Partitas fifteen times. The venues were quite diverse - from house concerts in Brooklyn, Eugene and Portland to a wine shop in Blue Hill, Maine; from a small theater in Arcata, CA to an auditorium of 900 people at MIT in Cambridge.

Final bow at MIT's Kresge Auditorium. Photo: L.Barry Hetherington
Final bow at MIT's Kresge Auditorium. Photo: L.Barry Hetherington

 Each venue had its own magic, and after every show I felt like I was growing as an artist. (You can watch the complete show from Michigan State University at the top of this page). The overall experience has been truly transformative. 

(From King-FM studios in Seattle. Thanks, Second Inversion!)

Throughout the year, people have asked me if I've recorded these works, and I've been debating the idea for months. There are reasons for hesitation - plenty of recordings of Bach for solo violin already exist; with over 140 minutes of music, it's an expensive project to record; do I have room in our 1-bedroom apartment for boxes and boxes of double cds and triple vinyl? (yes, vinyl!). And most importantly, am I ready artistically? I've thought long and hard about it, and have decided to go forward with the recording. Here's why:

Over the course of this past year I've grown to know and understand these works in a truly personal way, one which integrates my classical training with the work I've been doing with Silk Road Ensemble and Brooklyn Rider over the last decade. Collaborating with improvisers, commissioning new works from a variety of composers (many of whom are performers,) working with ballet & modern dance companies, as well as working with traditional musicians outside of the Classical music genre - all of these experiences add deep and meaningful layers of connection and dimension to Bach's music. 

Finally, these works offer no place to hide, providing a naked view of oneself as a musician. A scary, yet exhilarating thought. Just as I experienced a huge learning curve with each performance, I expect that some mysteries of this incredible music will only reveal themselves in the recording studio. I simply must keep digging and exploring further, as this is the most intimate and personal musical journey I can imagine. I'm excited to share my thoughts on Bach with the world, and I hope you would consider helping me make this possible. 

Thank you all. 

JG

Risks and challenges

This campaign is pretty straightforward in terms of production, but having worked on 2 previous kickstarter campaigns, I've learned that things never work out exactly according to plan. I don't anticipate any big challenges to come up, but if they do, I feel confident that I will be able to solve them in an efficient and thoughtful way.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Thank you! You will receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice. (mp3 or AIFF)

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Thank you! You will receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice. (mp3 or AIFF). You will also receive a limited edition T-shirt.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Thank you! You will receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice. (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt, and a double cd.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Thank you! You will receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice. (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt, and a signed double cd.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Thank you! A signed, 180 gram, limited edition triple LP vinyl box set awaits you! You will also receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice. (mp3 or AIFF); and a limited edition T-shirt.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Thank you! Ever think of getting a lesson with me via Skype? Now you can! One hour lesson on Bach, Schubert, Prokofiev, etc. - up to you. You will also receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt; and a choice of a signed double cd, or a signed, 180 gram, triple LP vinyl box set. (The lesson is transferrable to your family, friends, etc. )

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Thank you! Ever wish you could have a private lesson with me? Now you can! You will receive 90-min lesson. Bring any repertoire at all, your wish is my command. You will also receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt; and a choice of a signed double cd, or a signed, 180 gram, triple LP vinyl box set. (The lesson is transferrable to your family, friends, etc. )

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Thank you! Do you love playing chamber music? I will come over to a place of your choice, and we will spend the next 2 hours reading chamber music with you and/or your family and friends. Mozart Quartets? Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas? Danzi Bassoon Quartet? All sounds good to me. You will also receive a digital download of the double album, in a format of your choice (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt; and a choice of a signed double cd, or a signed,180 gram, limited edition triple LP vinyl box set. (The reward is transferrable to your family, friends, etc. )

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Commissioner's Circle!

    As some of you may know, Bach's Partitas are dance suites, some of the most inventive & beautiful music written for a single instrument in the Western Classical canon. For a while now I've been fantasizing about commissioning new dance suites for solo violin, which may be inspired by the folk music from places like Cuba, Africa, Brazil... Your pledge will allow me to commission these new works for violin solo, to be performed as standalone works, or alongside the Bach Partitas.

    You will receive a signed copy of the score, 4 tickets to the premiere performance, and an archival recording of the work. You will also receive a digital download of my Bach album, in a digital format of your choice (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt; and a choice of a signed double cd, or a signed, 180 gram, triple LP vinyl box set.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Thank you! The ultimate music lover's reward. Experience the beauty and power of Bach's complete works for violin solo in the comfort of your home, anywhere in the world- Alaska, Australia, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, Baltimore, you name it! Whether it's a performance for 2 people or for 20 is completely up to you. This will be an unforgettable evening.

    You will also receive a digital download of my Bach album in a digital format of your choice (mp3 or AIFF); a limited edition T-shirt; and a choice of a signed double cd, or a signed, 180 gram, triple LP vinyl box set. Your guests will receive a choice of signed cd or vinyl.

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Funding period

- (60 days)