Expressions like “educational event” or “discourse activity” sound formal as hell, but, as it often happens with instrumental music, lectures or workshops of a festival are a grand opportunity to grasp what the musicians are about as people – what their voices sound like, what they like to talk about, do they have a sense of humor, do they approve of the way you listen to their music, etc.
On October 8 and 9, Riga’s Skaņu Mežs festival hosted three SHAPE educational activities within its program: the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music opened its doors to Frederic Rzewski, the famous virtuoso pianist and composer, with a lecture on modern music and the craft of its interpretation, John Edwards, the British upright bass player who conducted a free improvisation workshop, and Jakob Ullmann, who, even though a SHAPE member himself, gave a lecture on his highly complex methods of composition.
These events all had plenty of delightful moments, such as Rzewski telling an anecdote about Stalin and Shostakovich or Edwards telling a story of how he once played an improvised concert to a room full of kissing teenage couples. You can stream recordings from these lectures and workshops below:
Frederic Rzewski’s talk
John Edwards’ workshop
Jakob Ullmann’s lecture
To find out more about Skaņu Mežs, a founding member of the SHAPE platform, click here.