Arpita Ghosal is a Toronto-based arts writer. She founded Sesaya in 2004.
Toronto-based cellist Andrés Tucci Clarke is a busy man these days. Between his regular teaching schedule and full roster of performances, he’s much in demand. However, ticket holders for this weekend’s Living-Room Project concerts are in luck! Tonight and tomorrow, he and pianist Renée Huynh Barabash bring to life the world of folk music in a duet concert performed within the serene comfort of a home environment. Where better to savour a live performance by two accomplished Canadian artists than within a familial atmosphere among an intimate group of fellow music lovers? In anticipation of these performances, he joins us for a quick Q and A about the program, his influences and his commitment to fostering music education in young audiences.
We wanted a programme theme that would give us a lot of flexibility but also that would give us a clear connection between all the pieces. With the decision to use Folk Music as our theme, we were able to tie together pieces from the Baroque to the 21st century, and from France to Canada (and a lot in between).
We might imagine playing with our favourite international soloist, but really, the most wonderful thing about chamber music is playing with friends and musicians you have known for years!
Well, let’s start with the best part – the best part is quite simply making music and bringing the experience to your audience! The most challenging part is balancing the different elements of our careers. Renée and I are both very busy teachers, with a lot of administration to do, and we still need to find time to practice together and individually.
My biggest influences now are very different than when I was younger. When I was younger I spent a lot of time listening to my favourite performers and composers, notably Yo-Yo Ma, Mstislav Rostropovich, Jaqueline DuPré, Mark O’Connor, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Aaron Copland.
As an adult I look now more towards organizations that endeavour to foster music appreciation in younger people. This can be done through education or just exposure. The Sistema programme in Venezuela, which has become a household name within music-education circles, is a programme that I respect a lot and sometimes look to for insight. It has spawned a global movement of music education for young people, and this is where I believe the future of classical music is. Without a younger generation that appreciates music, there will soon be no audiences at our shows or the shows of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or the Canadian Opera Company.
A good live performance is one where the audience is engaged with the performers both through education (programme notes or spoken explanation from the performers) and musical variety. An audience member should come away from a show not only feeling like they had a good time, but also that they learned something, and listened to a wide variety of music.
Oh man, this is a tricky one. One piece that has always stuck with me is the Schubert Cello Quintet Op. 163. I am not sure if it describes me, but ever since I first played it in high school, it has been one of my absolute favourite pieces. It has immense energy but is also contemplative and thoughtful. Also, I think the cello quintet is the evolution of the string quartet. Take a string quartet, and add an extra cello…How is that not better? I like that response, but I don’t think I answered your question…
News You Can Use
What: The Living Room Project presents “Folk Music from around the World,” performed by Andrés Tucci Clarke, cello and Renée Huynh Barabash, piano
Who: Audiences of all ages
When: Saturday February 25, 2017 – 7:00pm and Sunday February 26, 2017 – 4:00pm
Information and Tickets: LivingRoomProject.ca
Explore and Learn: Artistic Director Renée Huynh Barabash’s discusses the origin of The Living Room Project here.
© 2017 Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya