OPUS 216 with “Heavy The Sea”

Last fall, I received an intriguing email: an upcoming exhibition at The Transformer Gallery sought a live string quartet to accompany the visual installations for an upcoming show by Esther Teichmann. Would our ensemble be interested in performing Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, by composer Deirdre Gribbon, written to accompany the exhibition?

Um, in short, YES. We’ve performed in many, many galleries and in many contexts, but never have we been invited to perform as a PART of the art, itself.

After a lovely Skype session with artist Esther Teichmann and a handful of emails exchanged with gallery owner Fred Bidwell, a plan was in place: begin independent ensemble rehearsals in early January, stop in the gallery the week of the opening for a dress rehearsal and fitting of custom-made tunics (pictured below), designed in the palate of Esther’s works, and undertake three performances throughout early 2017.

The first performance, this past Saturday night, was a HUGE success. We looped the piece throughout the evening in various locations in the gallery, experimenting with positioning and ensemble configuration. Esther guided us on where and when to set up each new performance, and our quartet played approximately 8 times in the course of three hours. It was a stunning addition to an already stunning exhibition: painting, photography, written word, film installations, custom-costumes… and music.

OPUS 216 with “Heavy The Sea”:

Ariel Clayton Karas, violin

Leah Latoracca, violin

Patrick Miller, viola

Sophie Benn, cello

Pictures below. Subsequent performances take place on March 4, and April 29 – see http://www.transformerstation.org for details.

http://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/heavy-the-sea/Event?oid=5008127

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“Can’t Stop The Feeling”

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Pictured above: OPUS 216 members Ariel Clayton Karas, Dianna Joiner, Andris Koh, and Derek Snyder hide backstage before surprising a very special NYE wedding party with a flash mob-style performance of “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” by Justin Timberlake!

NYE weddings are always some of my favorites, because it’s a perfect excuse to throw one heck of a party on one of the greatest nights of the year!

Thanks, especially, to Michele and Tony for making this such a special surprise for their daughter on her wedding night!

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And in reflecting on such a fantastic year of music-making in 2016:

150+ performances via OPUS 216, Classical Revolution CLE, and myself as a soloist…

…which included 40+ performances in healthcare settings, a handful of recitals for my violin students, a brief return to my East Cleveland violin program, 2 dozen CRC shows in bars and taverns, plenty of black-tie events, more than 4 dozen weddings, 2 PechaKucha presentations, and multi-session workshops on the life of a freelance musician at my alma mater!

Thankful for the work I do which is the work I love. Looking ahead to 2017 with energized excitement at what the year holds for exciting music projects with OPUS 216!

 

OPUS 216 wraps up 2016…

Actually, not yet… We’ve still got a few of exciting events booked in the month of December (think holiday parties, intimate weddings, and fancy balls), but now seems about right to do a quick update!

Autumn brought lots of exciting opportunities for collaboration our way, from a repeat performance for a Marysville, OH chamber music society, to an all-pop gig at the Rock Hall for a smashing party for CWRU’s Law School Alumni!

 

14671117_1291500814227828_3195948670766721221_nOPUS 216 in Marysville, OH: featuring Andris Koh, cello; Ariel Clayton Karas, violin; and Natsumi Shibagaki, piano

 

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OPUS 216’s all-pop gig at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, featuring Erica Snowden on cello and Julian Machala on viola, with Ariel Clayton Karas on violin! Such a fantastic event!!

In the realm of weddings, we had a blast doing everything from gorgeous rooftop nuptials, to a ceremony for a fellow musician, to an intimate, in-home wedding in Rocky River!

 

As 2016 winds down, we look forward to sharing a few more exciting details from the rest of December and the New Year holiday, and hopefully we’ll see you in 2017! 🙂

 

Cheers!!

-Ariel

#RNCinCLE

In case you missed it, Cleveland just survived hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention. When news broke that our beloved city would play host to such an enormous event, many performing artists like myself wondered what the week would entail, especially in regards to music needs. Thankfully, I’m glad to say I’m nearly finished with a 9-day performance streak (yep, that’s 10 gigs in 9 days), and myself and all of OPUS 216 are still standing!

In between providing special music for a trio of events sponsored by Jones Day (one of the partners on the RNC Host Committee), OPUS 216 has undertaken 2 weddings and a fundraiser for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. I’ve personally performed for a colleague’s recital, completed another exciting month of music with Classical Revolution Cleveland, and am performing later today with CityMusic Cleveland for the opening of the Cleveland International Piano Competition.

Some summers, July is a total snooze (which is often a welcome vacation from the madness of June and August), but this year has thankfully turned out to be an exciting opposite! Looking forward to more thrilling weeks of summertime music-making before the heat breaks and we settle into a gorgeous, Cleveland autumn….

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A full start to the summer season!

Things honestly move so fast in the summer I can’t keep up… I decided this morning to simply post a massive photo log of a handful of the musical adventures both myself and OPUS 216 have enjoyed since late spring!

Happy Summer!

*Featured below, in no particular order: private events and weddings galore, an appearance with Dominick Farinacci at Tri-C Jazz Fest, The Myopia Ensemble with artist-composer Mark Mothersbaugh, performances during the Centennial Celebrations at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Kent Art and Wine Festival, and a student recital at the Cleveland Clinic on international Make Music Day!

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‘Art and Insight’ at the Museum of Art.

For the last 4 years, cellist Erica Snowden and I have collaborated with the education department at the Cleveland Museum of Art on creative programming linking art, music, collaboration, and team-building. We began four years ago with a brief, 15 minute session with a rotating group of medical residents – we drew parallels between abstract art, fugues by Bach, and ideas surrounding musical and professional collaboration.

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If you can imagine, that was a TON of info to cram into a 15-minute session and, after 4 years of tweaking, we’ve arrived at a 50-60 minute session, reaching nearly 100 healthcare professionals each spring, and featuring music by Bartok, Gliere, improvisation, and all alongside the monumental, mid-century abstract work “Celebration,” by Lee Krasner.

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Great art. Paired with great music. Presented in a cross-disciplinary context… Sometimes, I have to pinch myself. Immensely looking forward to another round…

#musicismedicine #lovewhatyoudo

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^^^ This may have been our green room near the gallery. 😉

The Music of Eric Genuis, and Concerts of Hope

Last December, I had the rare privilege of collaborating with pianist and composer Eric Genuis on a day of performances in various correctional institutes in Northeast Ohio.

As a talented and highly creative composer and pianist, Eric strives to create performances that fill listeners with dignity, no matter their life status. Our day began with at 7am at the Lorain Correctional Institute, a stark, cinder block and barbed-wire complex off of a two-lane road in Grafton, OH. After having our instruments checked and re-checked at security, we were led to a chapel deep in the complex to set up. Inmates on work duty assisted us with chairs, amps, microphones, and soon we were set, and the room was filled with nearly 100 men. The concert was essentially a “reward” for good behavior and their positive mentorship effects on incoming inmates. The video below tells the rest of our story. We ended the day at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center, filling the walls of a gymnasium with sounds of hope and words of encouragement for more than 250 incarcerated young people

Music heals, and gives hope. For these men, it also offered dignity and a chance to experience rare beauty in the stark world in which they reside.

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Yesterday, Eric returned to northeast Ohio to perform for a fundraiser for a home for the elderly. I had the opportunity to join to CIM-trained colleagues in bringing his music to many more enthusiastic ears!

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For more information, check out ericgenuis.com