A few weeks ago I finished writing 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano for the Mondavi Center at UC Davis. This commission is for their young artists competition and had one of the more specific set of parameters I've worked with: write a piece consisting of 3-5 short movements each of which is appropriate for a different level of teenage violinist. On January 8, each of the competition's violinists will choose one of the movements to play as part of their competition performance and I will be one of the judges. The following weekend, last year's competition winners Alexi Kenney and Hilda Huang will premiere the piece in its entirety. This project is the brainchild of the excellent pianist Lara Downes, and I think it is a really fantastic experience for these teenage musicians to have the opportunity to premiere a new piece.
In writing the piece, I thought about what I would have wanted to play when I was their age and how I could write something that would work for this project that I might also want to play myself in the future. So, two of the movements are explorations of ideas I have played with in Build pieces, one is a new rhythmic direction for me and one is a kind dirge. I have to say, it was a bit of a challenge to write a piece for different ability levels that still works as a whole, but I'm pretty happy about the outcome.
I'll post a recording (either of the premiere or of me playing it) here when one is available.