Dame Evelyn Glennie
The Core-tet Project
Dame Evelyn Glennie – Multi Percussion (Scotland)
Jon Hemmersam – Acoustic Guitar (Denmark)
Michael Jefry Stevens – Acoustic Piano – Steinway Artist (USA)
Szilard Mezei – Viola (Serbia)
The history of Western Classical Music is filled with a rich legacy of great improvisers. The list is long and profound: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Franck, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Handel and many more.
Before the now ubiquitous “Jazz” music shorthand there existed the “figured bass” shorthand, which allowed organists and accompanists to perform complex harmonic structures using a numerical language to express specific chords and inversions.
Master Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie adds to this improvising tradition with her new and bold international quartet ensemble. The group brings together musical traditions from four varied cultures but with a common goal: to create spontaneous music of great beauty and power which utilizes the basic formal elements of musical composition: melody, harmony, rhythm and form.
Each improvised concert is a new and profound spontaneous work of art much like the organ duels of the baroque period and the great cadenzas of the romantic composer/performers.
The members of the Core-tet have a long history between them. Guitarist Jon Hemmersam and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens have been performing and recording together for twenty-five years. Mr. Stevens met violist and composer Szilard Mezei in 2007 when they both performed at a festival in Kanjiza, Serbia. Jon Hemmersam and Evelyn Glennie recorded their duo CD “Sound Spirits” in 2012. Mezei, Hemmersam and Stevens recorded their improvised trio CD “Upcast” in 2009. Mezei and Hemmersam have recorded several cds together over the past seven years. Upon Evelyn Glennie hearing the trio’s “Upcast” recording, she became determined to join the trio of improvisers in an improvised quartet recording. This recording took place in December, 2016 (eight years after the initial idea). The meeting of these four distinct musical voices was more powerful and profound then anyone expected. The result of that recording is this new project: The Core-tet Project.
"Petite, with bubbly friendliness and bright red socks (profoundly deaf since childhood, the percussionist hears vibrations through her entire body, including feet onstage), Glennie swept through O’Boyle’s concerto like a graceful whirlwind. From the circular bell melody of the opening over a shimmery string cushion, through the unbelievably fast bell part in the jig, to thundering bass drum and scarily overpowering snare in the war section, through a magical vibraphone stillness and eerie cymbal-chime effects to the galvanizing marimba cadenza, Glennie moved through the work’s kaleidoscope of emotions like a dancer. Her attention to sheer sound and color seemed to pull the orchestra into a new stratum of playing, utterly focused”.
Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Pantages Theater, Tacoma - 2 & 3 May 2014