I could read music and sing all the right notes at the right time. And over time, I literally found my voice, found a way to make sound.
'Partita' is a simple piece. Born of a love of surface and structure, of the human voice, of dancing and tired ligaments, of music, and of our basic desire to draw a line from one point to another.
I've spent a lot of time playing Bach partitas. One of my first jobs was to play for ballet and modern classes, so the music in 'Partita' is kind of like choreography for me.
I played a lot of Bach's partitas and sonatas; I like the way that Bach was abstracting already from these dance forms.
It was sort of an experiment to try to leave the violin. Can I be a real person without this thing? It was a big part of my identity.
I grew up listening to – it's kind of embarrassing – all classical music.
I've done a lot of performance practice, Baroque playing, and some of the joy and the challenge of it is figuring out what the composer intended… You have music of the 17th century – it's all whole notes and half notes. But inside of that, there are so many things that one can do, at least according to what we know about performance practice.
I was curious about experimenting with different colors – kind of like having an expanded orchestra. Suddenly, instead of just writing for strings, you can add bassoon and oboe and brass. I like these extreme differences in sounds right next to each other.
I've been singing with Roomful of Teeth since the beginning in 2009, and it's a really mind-blowingly wonderful vocal ensemble. Very brave and very creative, and they're some of my closest friends.
I guess I'd like people to be able to forget a lot of things and just enjoy the beauty of harmony and melody for a moment.
Every day, you have to make three hours of music, just randomly improvising, and that's a great way to weed stuff out.
There's a bit of a new guard of contemporary classical musicians in New York, and we play a lot of different kinds of music together. We do pop studio sessions, and we'll also play John Cage and more avant-garde work. We're developing a language of music that comes with a lot of different styles, different kinds of work.
I've been gearing up for this future of writing a lot of new music by digging into my favorite old stuff, and twisting it around and highlighting the things I really love.