Excerpts from an interview with violinist Matthew Fuller on his role in Ballet Fantastique’s season-opener performance of String Theory, Nov. 20-21 at the Hult Center:
Describe the music you’ll be playing for this performance: As the title of the concert suggests, the music is all string music. We’ll be playing several selections from the film The Red Violin, as well as works by Boccherini, Paganini, and Corelli. The musical selections really show off the versatility of string ensembles, and in some cases, particularly the Paganini and Red Violin selections, they allow the performers themselves to show off! But my favorite aspect of all the music we’ll be performing is the intimacy that comes from such small ensembles; sometimes when I hear two stringed instruments playing a duet, I feel like I’m “hearing” a daydream or private thought, as abstract as that may sound.
Share your thoughts about working with with Ballet Fantastique: I’m really excited to work with BF again. We worked together on a performance a couple years ago that was part of the Chamber Music and Chocolate series, and I really enjoyed how imaginitive their choreography was and how willing they all were to step into the often snooty world of classical chamber music and do something creative with it.
Do you have experience collaborating with dancers in this manner? If so, how does this concert compare? I’ve played with ballet and opera orchestras for many years, and what makes those performances so different from a typical symphony concert is the spontaneity and quick response time that’s required from everyone involved. Not spontaneity in the sense that singers or dancers will be ad-libbing during a show, but in the sense that things may not be exactly how we rehearsed them, and we need to be able to quickly adapt to changes as they happen. However, what makes this concert different from my other experiences with ballet is that the number of musicians is much smaller, and there won’t be a conductor to lead us. Since a lot of the music is technically demanding for both the dancers and the musicians, the absence of a conductor means we all have to be that much more aware of what our counterparts are doing.
From your perspective, why is this concert a must-see? Although I’ve been playing the violin for over 30 years, I’ve never heard or seen a live performance of either the Paganini duets for violin and guitar, or the Boccherini Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid. That would be reason enough for me! But for those who aren’t chamber music nerds like me– the combination of beautiful, rarely performed chamber music with completely original choreography make this an experience it would be a mistake to miss!
If there is anything else you’d like to add, feel free. Nope. I talk too much as it is…
Thanks, Matt! We can’t wait to work with you!
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