Guest Blogger Luanne Warner Katz shares some of the many layers of Play Like a Girl

(Play Like a Girl, the piece written by Eve Beglarian in 2014 and based upon Kaval Sviri, a traditional Bulgarian Women’s chorus piece, is the inspiration for Luanne’s program of the same name).

Play Like a Girl did not start as a political statement, but as it is a very personal program for me, it has become a platform for my passions and beliefs. The preparation for this program heralded an emergence of a new voice alongside the exploration of the music. The repertoire choices started around pieces that showcased my talents and abilities and grew into pieces by or about women. And as I am a passion junkie, to be considered, each piece had to “light me up”.

Wanting to extend beyond my normal comfort zone, each piece features an element that I previously would have avoided. To The Earth by Frederic Rzewski places me at the front of the performance space, only a few feet from the audience delicately playing on four clay flower pots while reciting a Homeric poem. Everybody Talk About Freedom not only requires the solo marimbist to speak while playing but requires that the performer find their own unique rapping voice.

The 70-minute "concept” performance was designed to conjure the intimate, and now rare experience of listening to a record album from start to finish without interruption. Performed without intermission, many of the works will be linked by “sonic interludes” from hand-held instruments or vocalizations. Many of the works also feature pre-recorded audio: one written and prepared by the composer, (Fertility Rites); one requiring me to record all the backing tracks on marimba and vibraphone (Electric Counterpoint); and one where the MIDI files were provided but the choice and arrangement of sounds were left to me (Play Like A Girl).

Performing this program requires a lot of energy, and for me that is generally not a challenge! I am fueled by the passion for playing that has sustained me through a long career. I love these pieces. I love these instruments. I am thrilled to be able to share my unique voice.  In Play Like a Girl, I explore, embrace, and celebrate all the images this phrase conjures.  And I intend to explode a few stereotypes along the way.

Hope to see you on Nov 1 or 2!

Lu

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