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SubDivisions at SubCulture

We sat down with three members of Ensemble ACJW—violinist Elizabeth Fayette, cellist Andrea Casarrubios, and percussionist Garrett Arney—to talk about the thought process behind the programming of Ensemble ACJW’s upcoming concert on March 26 at SubCulture.

How did you choose the pieces for your March 26 program at SubCulture?

Andrea Casarrubios: Earlier in the year, we decided to unify our SubCulture concerts for this season with a specific theme: the various “subdivisions” of our ensemble. All of the members of our group proposed a number of works that they were passionate about and based on those suggestions we created a coherent program that we are extremely excited to present.

Elizabeth Fayette: We want to play music that we are excited about! We draw almost all our pieces for our SubCulture programs from fellow requests—everyone submits repertoire to a master list. Since everyone can see the works requested, other fellows can “support” a submission, and the number of fellows that want to play a certain piece is definitely taken into account.

Garrett Arney: With the theme of “subdivisions,” our goal was to choose pieces for medium-size ensembles (groups of 3–5). We wanted to mix things with interactivity, and more classical music. The chamber settings are very unique.

What do you like about creating your own program versus performing pieces that are chosen for you?

Elizabeth Fayette: It is incredibly exciting to create one’s own program—while I generally don’t mind being told what to play, the opportunity to create one’s own narrative is something that I really enjoy. Each piece of music tells a story, and seeing how each piece fits together—either in a very specific or more abstract way—is like the world’s most engrossing 3-D jigsaw puzzle: The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts!

Garrett Arney: It’s a lot of fun to think about how to put together a cohesive yet varied program. We had to think of clever ways to mix and match genres, instruments, composers, and general interaction on stage; as well as strategically plan how the audience perceives each piece and work on keeping the engagement level throughout.

Where did the name “SubDivisions” come from?

Andrea Casarrubios: Our first concert at SubCulture in January was all about the most intimate form of chamber music: the duet. The concert on March 26 is focused on how interactions between the musicians are transformed when expanded into trios, quartets, and quintets. The name plays with the idea of this breakdown of the ensemble, and what we can achieve while performing in different formations at SubCulture.

Garrett Arney: The intent is to show all the different kinds of interaction and chamber music we are capable of on stage. As the medium-size ensemble is featured in varied numbers, we thought “Subdivisions” was an appropriate title.

Elizabeth Fayette: In this program, we come together in more flexible ways in hopes of giving recognition to both the individual and collective statements that we simultaneously create as members of Ensemble ACJW.

What piece from this program are you excited to perform and why?

Garrett Arney: I’m particularly excited about Musique de Table by Thierry De Mey. The piece is a “ballet for hands” and mixes micro-choreography with rhythm. Working with two cellists on this piece has also been a lot of fun.

Andrea Casarrubios: I’m also excited to perform Musique de Table. I have heard performances of the piece throughout the last few years, and I’ve always found the work fun, hilarious, and smart. I am finally playing it now along with two colleagues who are coincidentally also fun, hilarious, and smart. The learning process has been both challenging and amusing since, to me, the score resembles hieroglyphics. Fortunately, Garrett has played this piece before and he has certainly been a tremendous help!

Elizabeth Fayette: I am playing three works on this program—Bartók’s Contrasts, Andy Akiho’s the rAy’s end, and Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music—and am excited to perform each one of them! The only thing that they have in common is that they were all written within 100 years of each other; otherwise, they could not be more different. What I am so excited about is that each piece gives me a chance to explore styles outside of my normal realm of purview.

Ensemble ACJW
Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 PM
Ensemble ACJW

The Academy—a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education

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