A conversation with Sébastien van Kuijk
David chats with Sébastien van Kuijk, a Festival Artist in August 2019 whose 2020 visit here was foiled by COVID-19
If you didn't watch the Winter Baroque concert on Sunday, check it out here.
With Winter Baroque squarely behind us, I thought I’d take off my Artistic Director hat and put on another. For fifteen years I led Auricolae Music & Storytelling Troupe. The ensemble eventually ran its course but not until we had completeled two recordings and had loads of fun. Ken Woods, cellist and conductor well known to the good people of Newburyport, was my partner in much we did. Earlier this year we sat down for an extended interview at “The Music Room” in preparation for a new recording of one of my works, “Lubin, from Chelm,” with esteemed English violinist, Zoë Byers. We also discussed Ken’s piece “The Ugly Duckling” based on the eponymous tale by Hans Christian Anderson. Ken went on to record “Lubin” with his band, the English Symphony Orchestra, after masterly setting the piece to orchestra.
Running Auricolae was a wonderful journey and the best part was commissioning new music, about two dozen works. Here is one of my favorites, the wondrous “Old Magician” by composer Gerald Levinson based on “Three Fables” by poet Robert Lax with a jaw-dropping ending.
There is also the heartbreaking “Warrior Violinist” by Jay Reise, one of my favorite people in the world. Jay was composer-in-residence for NCMF a number of years ago and is currently working on an opera based on the life of Al Capone (how cool is that?).
I can’t leave you with such a sad tale so I’ll close with another Hans Christian Anderson story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” written by Andrew Waggoner, another past NCMF composer-in-residence.
There is a rumor circulating of an animated slide show set to my “Two Brothers” with illustrations by Newburyport’s own Jane Niebling being released sometime in 2021. You heard it here first! We are also hoping to resume our traditional summer festival opening day storytelling concert with the irrepressible Edward Speck/Theater in the Open.
Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night.
David Yang, Artistic Director