Song Cycle: Elizabeth Beilman
Who could have better music suggestions than a musician? If you’re always on the lookout for new things to listen to, violist Elizabeth Beilman has a playlist for you. This all-classical playlist seamlessly blends contemporary and classic pieces inspired by “A New Year’s Celebration” and her time as a student in New York.
I feel personally connected to this concert for a number of reasons. First, we are performing a piece by a fantastic Chinese-Canadian composer who happened to be my freshman theory teacher at Juilliard, Vivian Fung. While most of my time working with her was spent analyzing Bach chorales and learning about Monteverdi operas, I gained exposure to her compositions as many of my classmates began to premiere her works. I particularly like her violin concerto, and this performance by Kristin Lee is fantastic. I can’t wait to play Dust Devils.
Chopin is a particularly beloved composer of piano works, but as a string player, I didn’t start really listening to his music until I heard an all-Chopin recital by Maurizio Pollini at Carnegie Hall in college. Of course, the technical challenges of the nocturnes and ballades are stunning, but I was particularly moved by the tremendous sense of freedom that Pollini captured with his use of rubato. Since then, I’ve grown to love Martha Argerich’s and Krystian Zimerman’s interpretations of Chopin. I’ve included some of my favorite solo piano music on this playlist.
While we close this concert with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7, I’ve chosen to add some of his chamber music to this playlist. Dvorak himself played viola, and the viola parts to his chamber music and symphonies are always so much fun to play. Dvorak’s Piano Quintet was actually the first piece I ever played on viola. I started as a violinist but fell in love the rich sound of the viola and the interesting role of an inner voice in larger ensemble music. I also added the Wind Serenade because I think the woodwind writing in this piece is very similar to that of his seventh symphony.
Listen to Elizabeth’s playlist here: