Left Coast Chamber Ensemble opens its new season with Long Distance Call, featuring world premiere works by Laura Rose Schwartz and Ryan Suleiman exploring long distance conversations between a piano trio (flute, cello, piano) and a distanced soprano. The concert includes a piece from George Lewis for flute and electronics and a classic trio for flute, cello, and piano by Louise Farrenc.
Responding to the forced separation and longing for connection experienced during Covid-19 pandemic, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble commissioned works conceived as long distance conversations between a piano trio and a soprano. Laura Rose Schwartz and Ryan Suleiman each contributed a new piece using a call and response model. In the new works, the singer and ensemble alternate in sending each other musical postcards. It is intended that the work can be successfully performed either together or remotely.
In Laura Rose Schwartz’s new piece Parse, the composer employs the call and response format to explore her personal experience and feelings after a long-term break up. “Parse is not a breakup description piece. It does not tell the story of that relationship. It does tell my story,” explains Schwartz. The three texts of Parse are sung and spoken by LCCE vocalist, Nikki Einfeld. The instrumental ensemble, made up of Leighton Fong (cello), Stacey Pelinka (flute) and guest pianist Allegra Chapman, acts as a mirror to the story text. “I wrote this piece because I feel a longing to reconcile the person I am now with the person I was in Parse,” said Schwartz. “I wrote my own vulnerability into music and that has been an experience.”
Ryan Suleiman also draws from his personal experience and feelings for his new composition inspired by Gibran Khalil Gibran’s poem, The Robin. “Gibran’s poem for me during the pandemic represents a yearning for peace while in a state of isolation and anxiety,” explains Suleiman. “This feeling is also reflected in the singer’s situation.” The piece is created with social distancing measures in mind, written in such a way that the singer is both physically and musically isolated from the instrumentalists. She sings and must wait for a reaction. “During the pandemic we want to gather together, but haven’t been able to,” added Suleiman. “In Gilbran’s Robin we find beauty, peace, and tranquility. The robin lives gracefully and in the moment. Imagining this robin as I composed has been a kind of balm. I hope it is for the listeners too.”
George Lewis’s Emergent for flute and live electronics, and Louise Farrenc’s Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, Op. 45 complement the new works.