Jeff and Nina Nelsen to perform together at IHS45 in Memphis July 21 2013, 0 Comments
Featured Artist Recital - Jeff and Nina Nelsen with Luiz Garcia (Horn), Kathia Bonna (Piano), and Victor Asuncion (Piano)
Siegfried's Call is excited to bring you an interview held last week with Jeff and Nina Nelsenand we hope to be done setting up our exhibit so we can sneak out to hear the 90 minute program ourselves, shared with Brazilian hornist Luiz Garcia and pianists Kathia Bonna and Victor Asuncion.
The interview: What will you be performing in your recital to kick off Day 1 of the IHS Symposium in Memphis?
NN: "We're very excited about our program. Jeff, Luiz and I have put together a great mix of music. We had a lot of fun putting it all together. We have some classics, with very interesting and new spins on some of them. We have a beautiful original composition written for Jeff and me. Luiz is bringing two Brazilian pieces. It is all very accessible. It's fun to listen to, but will also be thrilling for horn players to hear what Jeff and Luiz will be accomplishing on their horns, in my personal opinion! I'll be singing a few arias as well. It will be filled with a couple of surprises- but all in all…it will be a very exciting show!"
Do you have some thoughts you'd like to send me about each piece?
NN: "Luiz starts with Bozza's En Foret, and then Jeff will perform Gershwin's Summertime. He loves this piece, as both his opera singer mother Diane, and his opera singer wife have been performing this piece for years…now he gets to! Jeff feels very strongly about performing pieces that students can see themselves performing so he and Luiz will do quite a few pieces for two horns. Jeff had the Bach Cello Suite realized for two horns about ten years ago, and is excited to share them with Luiz and the audience. Then I'll make a very operatic entrance, drama and all…of course! First half ends with Luiz and Kathia performing six Brazilian Dances.
Second half begins with a 5 movement piece written for us by one of Jeff's former IU students, Ryan O'Connell. Ryan is a beautiful and very busy composer, and he used words by a friend of ours, Brian Andreas. Luiz performs "West - from Windows" by Havens. Then Luiz will perform Mozart's 4th Horn Concerto K495 with a new original spin adapted by Ryan O'Connell. I might join Luiz for part of the concerto as well. We have a very grand finale planned as well!" -art and words in picture below
Are you excited to work together in front of a horn audience?
NN: "I love working together in front of horn audiences, they are always so appreciative of both of us. It's always fun to play for peers - for people we know and love!"
What obstacles do you face when working with voice, piano, and horn on stage?
NN: "Well…if Jeff didn't play so loud we'd never have any problems! I guess our main problem is if he's playing high and loud and I'm singing in my low register, we need to make sure the audience can hear me!! I'm the one with the words, after all." (smiles)
JN: "Oh honey…this is a horn event. They won't even notice you're th…….hmmmm. Ok, as usual, it will be the opposite! I'll get to fade into the background when Nina makes her entrance. I can't wait for all my hornist friends to hear Nina perform. It's always such a joy to collaborate with her. It will be very obvious why, when she sings. I can't wait."
Have you experimented with different physical arrangements on stage? If so, what did you find works well and why?
NN: "We have. We change around every time we perform depending on the hall. Most importantly, we just find a setting in which everybody is comfortable and can be heard, and go with that. Only rule is no "bells up" in my face."
Of the pieces being performed, do you both share a favorite?
NN: "We have a few favorites- but I would say over all our favorite is the O'Connell. Ryan was a student of Jeff's at IU, and is now working in Los Angeles on movies, video games and broadway shows. You can hear those styles in his piece. He wrote it for us when I was pregnant with Rhys, and we premiered them at IHS Brisbane. We wanted to make sure North American hornists heard it as well, so we snuck it onto our program here. They are short vignettes written by a poet/artist friend of ours from my hometown in Santa Barbara. Ryan set them to music and they're gorgeous. They're special to us because of the meaning behind the lyrics, the music, and when we first experienced it all. It's a very magical piece for us."
Which piece is Rhys favorite piece, or are they all "Rhys's Pieces?"
NN: (laughs) "Yes…they are all made of chocolate and peanut butter. No, unfortunately Rhys' favorite piece is jingle bells, so he won't get to hear that. But he really likes opera. I know, weird, but he sits still and watches it!"
What can we look forward to coming up in the next year for you both?
NN: "Jeff is getting ready to release his new website on July 28 (the day of our IHS recital). He heads to Korea to perform the Gliere Horn Concerto to open the season of the Daejeon Philharmonic in September. After that, he's on sabbatical for the fall semester at IU. This means we'll be traveling a bit (England and Portugal so far), and he'll finish the long awaited "Fearless Performance" book! I'm home all fall as well, so we're looking forward to spending sabbatical time together as a family. We'll head out to California in December and I sing a Messiah. January and February I'll be in Houston where I'm working on a world premier opera "Bound" at HGO, and I get to go "home" to work in Santa Barbara in the spring, to sing The Secretary in "The Consul." We strongly believe we really are living the dream."
Have you thought about recording an album together? If so, what would be your focus?
NN: "That's another one of the projects we'd like to complete this fall. We have a couple of ideas… we'd like to get the O'Connell pieces recorded. We'd also LOVE to do a lullaby cd together, for our son Rhys and his friends."
Will you be available to hang with us at the Siegfried's Call exhibit to meet and greet attendees, sign some autographs, and hand out free posters during the IHS45 Symposium? If so, when could people stop by and visit? Will there be any surprise performances there?
(photo: courtesy of Nelsen family)
NN: "We will definitely be available to hang at Siegfried's Call! My son mentioned he was planning to bring his mini horn, so he may play a few notes."