Harmony Beat

William Harvey's thoughts about cultural diplomacy and news about Cultures in Harmony, the non-profit he founded in 2005.

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Location: San Juan, Argentina

violinist, violist, educator, composer, conductor, arranger, cultural diplomat

Monday, May 30, 2005

Upcoming concerts reminder

I have two benefit concerts this week in Indiana. All funds raised will go towards covering MFTP expenses. I would be honored by your attendance!

The first concert is Wednesday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Gobin United Methodist Church, 307 Simpson St., Greencastle, IN. You can find more information here.

The second concert is Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, 615 W. 43rd St, Indianapolis, IN.

Hope you can make it!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Back in Indianapolis

I finally got around to hooking my computer up to the internet, so I have now updated the donors and expenses sections of my website.

Also since my return, I have applied for my entry visa to Moldova, and opened another Music for the People account at Bank One, which will be convenient, since I will be in Indianapolis until I leave on June 13.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

First benefit concert

On Friday night, I presented a private concert at the beautiful New York home of Kevin and Pam Wolf. Thank you so much to Mr. and Mrs. Wolf for their incredible generosity, hospitality, and warmth! I would also like to thank the following individuals for their kind donations to MFTP: Kevin and Pam Wolf, Mark Leavitt, David and Nicole Perez, John and Caryl Orlando, Claudia Glenn Barasch, David and Lisa Keyko, and James Curtis, Jr. I will update my donor page to reflect these generous contributions once I return to Indianapolis. I am now in Charlotte, North Carolina, visiting my brother Theodore.

Friday evening was a wonderful event that will prove invaluable in the success of this project. Thank you again to Mr. and Mrs. Wolf and to all their guests. My parents and I enjoyed meeting all of them, and I appreciated the opportunity to perform in such an intimate environment, for such a receptive audience.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tunisian music lesson

Yesterday I had my Tunisian music lesson with Dean Riyad, who kindly agreed to drive all the way from Philadelphia to teach me. Since he has friends in Jersey City, I took the subway and the PATH to Journal Square and waited for him for an hour and fifty minutes (it took a bit longer on the NJ Turnpike than he had anticipated).

He picked me up in a red Mitsubishi convertible. From our brief conversation in the car, I perceived him to be a pleasant and gregarious chap. He asked me about my trip, and when I told him I would be giving a masterclass at the Conservatoire de Musique de Hammam Lif, he told me that it is in a beautiful suburb of Tunis, near the shore.

I had been wondering where we were going to have this lesson when he pulled the car up to a fruit store belonging to a friend of his. He parked by the curb and we went through the white-tiled store (I noticed some good deals on bananas) to a small office at the back. My skin pricked; this was awesome! Suddenly, I wanted a t-shirt that said, "Everything I know about Tunisian music I learned in a fruit store in Jersey City."

Nervously, I got out my violin and played through "Touchia." All I had to go on was a copy of the printed music, which no actual Tunisian musician would use, that I found in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. I had never heard any recordings or seen any performances or read any descriptions of how to play Tunisian music.

When I finished, he said, "Very good, but too fast." He explained that in Tunisian music, the lounga is music designed to show off the player’s technique. "Touchia," however, is not lounga; it is from a nouba. "The nouba is about soul, not techniques," he said. "Slow down, and you will find more opportunities to show the soul." He was right, of course.

He then decided to give me a crash course in the history and theory of Tunisian music. Obviously, this would have to be a bit superficial, but I learned a tremendous amount. I learned of the four most common keys and their quarter-tone structures. The quarter-tones are the hardest part for me. Smaller than any interval in most Western classical music, they are simply not a part of my training. "You will have to work on your quarter-tones," he said sternly. "If you don’t hit it exactly right, you will be out of tune." Then he grinned, "In Turkey, they have even smaller intervals; they use the one-sixteenth tone."

As he worked with me, I was struck by two major differences with his process of correcting me, and the process a peer or teacher at Juilliard would use. In Western classical music, our scales tend to be practiced in a dry and academic manner, for intonation only. When we want to match pitch with someone else, we will hold the pitch we want the other person to match. Dean did not do this. When he played a scale for me on the electronic keyboard he had hauled along for the purpose, he ornamented the scale and gave it a little rubato, a little feeling, in such an unconscious manner that I knew he could not conceive of isolating theory from feeling. When he wanted me to match a pitch, he would improvise a short piece centered on the pitch I was trying to match. I found it more challenging but ultimately more helpful to try to match a pitch in its context like this.

He also told me that, contrary to what I had believed, the music I was playing was not folk music. "All the noubas together form malouf," he informed me. "Malouf is the classical music, the music of kings and presidents." Concerned as I am with the way Western classical music is in decline in America, I asked him about the audience for Tunisian classical music. "Only the old people listen to it," he said sadly. "Young people listen to either the popular music or fazzani, a fast folk music using the bagpipes and lots of improvisation. You play fazzani, everyone will get up and dance. You play manouf, they sit down and listen." Or the old and wealthy people do, at least. Still, I was encouraged to learn that young people in Tunisia listen to folk music as well as popular. When was the last time a young American listened to our great Appalachian folk tradition? How often do our teenagers get together and dance to fiddle tunes or sing campfire songs, or the ballads of the Old West, or spirituals?

Slightly concerned with my ability to properly place all these quarter-tones, I asked him if there were keys in Tunisian music without quarter-tones. He mentioned mesmum, and I recalled that one of the pieces I had prepared, Dkhoul El Abyat, might be in mesmum. I played it for him and he said the tempo was now much better. "Other than tempo and quarter-tones, you are doing fine," he assured me. "Work on these two things before you leave."

Before my lesson, I had a vague idea that I didn’t know anything about Tunisian music. Afterwards, I knew exactly how much I didn’t know! But at least I have a few tools in my musical toolbag to help me navigate the malouf.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I bought the flights!

I got them for $2,716.45, which is a deal considering that I thought I was going to have to pay as high as $3600 until I got the idea of leaving a day early. As it happens, I got the very last seat on the plane leaving Chicago for Amsterdam that day...the seating plan showed literally one seat left! Another hour or so of hesitation and I would have been stuck with a ridiculously high price. Here is the plan:

Flight: United Airlines flight 908 (Non-Stop)
Depart: Chicago-Ohare, IL (ORD) - TERMINAL 1
" Mon, Jun 13 at 6:00pm
Arrive: Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Tue, Jun 14 at 9:15am
Seat: 19G (Boeing 767 Jet)
Meal: Dinner / Breakfast
Status: Confirmation Code QVL1WW
______________________________________________________
Flight: Air Moldova flight 852 (Non-Stop)
Depart: Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Tue, Jun 14 at 12:45pm
Arrive: Chisinau, Moldova Rep (KIV) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Tue, Jun 14 at 4:20pm
Seat: Check in at Airport for Seat Assignment. (Airbus Industrie Jet)
Meal: Snack/Brunch
______________________________________________________
Flight: Tarom-Romanian Air flight 208 (Non-Stop)
Depart: Chisinau, Moldova Rep (KIV) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Fri, Jul 01 at 6:45am

Arrive: Otopeni Bucharest, Romania (OTP) - Terminal Information
Unavailable
" Fri, Jul 01 at 7:55am
Seat: Check in at Airport for Seat Assignment. (ATR Turboprop)
Meal: Snack/Brunch
Status: Confirmation Code YYB7UR
Flight: Tarom-Romanian Air flight 403 (Non-Stop)

Depart: Otopeni Bucharest, Romania (OTP) - Terminal Information
Unavailable
" Fri, Jul 01 at 9:15am
Arrive: Rome Fiumicino, Italy (FCO) - TERMINAL C INTERNATIONAL
" Fri, Jul 01 at 10:20am
Seat: Check in at Airport for Seat Assignment. (Boeing 737-300 Jet)
Meal: Lunch
Status: Confirmation Code YYB7UR
Flight: Tunis Air flight 753 (Non-Stop)
Depart: Rome Fiumicino, Italy (FCO) - TERMINAL C INTERNATIONAL
" Fri, Jul 01 at 11:55am
Arrive: Tunis, Tunisia (TUN) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Fri, Jul 01 at 1:05pm
Seat: Check in at Airport for Seat Assignment. (Airbus Industrie Jet)
Meal: No Meal Served
Status: Confirmation Code YYB7UR
______________________________________________________
Flight: Air France flight 1985 (Non-Stop)
Depart: Tunis, Tunisia (TUN) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Mon, Jul 11 at 12:10pm
Arrive: Paris de Gaulle, France (CDG) - AEROGARE 2 TERMINAL F
" Mon, Jul 11 at 2:45pm
Seat: Check in at Airport for Seat Assignment. (Airbus Industrie Jet)
Meal: Meal Served
Status: Confirmation Code YYB7UR
Flight: Air France flight 346 (Non-Stop)
Depart: Paris de Gaulle, France (CDG) - AEROGARE 2 TERMINAL F
" Mon, Jul 11 at 4:30pm
Arrive: Montreal, Canada (YUL) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Mon, Jul 11 at 5:50pm
Seat: Check in at Airport for Seat Assignment. (Boeing 747 Jet)
Meal: Meal Served / Snack/Brunch
Status: Confirmation Code YYB7UR

Flight: United Airlines flight 7723 operated by /UNITED EXPRESS/CHAUTAUQUA
(Non-Stop)
Depart: Montreal, Canada (YUL) - Terminal Information Unavailable
" Mon, Jul 11 at 7:11pm
Arrive: Chicago-Ohare, IL (ORD) - TERMINAL 1
" Mon, Jul 11 at 8:35pm
Seat: 8F (Embraer Jet)
Meal: No Meal Served
Status: Confirmation Code QVL1WW
______________________________________________________
Airfare Summary-Prices shown in U.S. dollars Total: USD 2716.45
Travelers Price per person Taxes & Fees Total Price
1 adult 2475.00 178.55 2653.55
Delivery Charge 24.95 24.95
Service Fee 5.00 5.00
Flight Protection 32.95 32.95
Total of non-air charges: 62.90
Trip Total: 2716.45

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Tunisia, here I come!

I was thrilled to receive word from Dr. Zied Latiri that I am definitely going to Tunisia! I am very excited about this. He has quite an exciting itinerary planned for me from July 3 through July 10, including masterclasses, collaborations with local musicians (both classical and traditional Arabic), and more. You can check out the updated description of the project here.

Thank you, Dr. Latiri, for your wonderful work on this point. To do my part, I will begin learning a few basic phrases in French and Arabic. I will nicely ask one of my translators to translate the new project description into French, and I have already posted a French version of the program I will be playing here. Now, it's time to get some Tunisian music lessons. I'd better hurry, because I leave New York City on May 21 for my hometown of Indianapolis, and I don't know if I'll be able to find any Tunisian musicians in Indianapolis!

Small world

Nicoleta Bodrug informed me that my main concert in Chisinau will be at the Organ Hall. I found some beautiful pictures of the Organ Hall which make me even more eager for this concert, which will be sometime around June 23, I think.

In a conversation yesterday, I received a glowing description of this great concert hall from a Juilliard acquaintance, Milana Strezeva, who is Moldovan. In fact, her aunt is the hall's official organist! Anyone for a chorus of "It's A Small World After All"? No one? Hmm, how disappointing.

By the way, while surfing the web I noticed that Google has now indexed my website so that it appears on searches. This is very exciting to me, because it means now my site can be found by people I don't give the link to. Thank you to the computer indexing program at Google! Actually, the really odd thing about this is that one of the many brilliant computer engineers who maintains Google's software is the son of Dr. Everold Hosein, who helped me organize this tour. Coincidence? Well, almost certainly ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Greencastle Benefit Concert

William Harvey will present a benefit violin recital for Music for the People on Wednesday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will take place Gobin United Methodist Church, located at 307 Simpson St., Greencastle, IN. William will perform works by Bach, Barkauskas, Paganini and others at the concert, which is part of the Greencastle Summer Chamber Music Series, organized by Dr. Eric Edberg.

Tunisia

I'm pleased to report that the trip to Tunisia is looking less tentative. Today, Dr. Zied Latiri of the Tunisian Ministry of Health met with a representative of a professional Arab music group about my visit. I look forward to posting more details about the Tunisian portion of the tour soon.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Program change

I have revised the programs I will be playing. The new ones may be viewed here.

In revising the program, I sought to create an experience that would be more effective expressively. This program is more logical structurally and satisfying emotionally than the old one.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Benefit Concert

William Harvey will present a benefit violin recital for Music for the People on Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, located at 615 W. 43rd St. William will perform works by Bach, Barkauskas, Paganini and others at the concert, which is to be followed by a reception prepared by his family.