October 12, 2012
Clarice Assad never had lessons!
Yes, a scandalous and/or unbelieveable title always get the clicks...
It's true, though. This crazy-talented composer/performer from the musical Assad family from Brazil (read our print piece here) was immersed in music from an early age. As you read in the print piece, Clarice told The Beat that music was, of course, encouraged, but never forced. In fact, it was more just something that was done. "Let's make music together>" was how she described the prevailing attitude.
Then, the award-winning composer, jazz singer/pianist, teacher and clinician dropped this: "I did not learn how to read music until I was in my late teens. I never really had any formal training."
(Make me sick...)
Anyway, one thing she told us that was important to her as regards composing for various individuals, ensembles and instrumentations was to learn the player or group. (Again, read more in this in the print story.)
Here, a few-years-back video presentation from violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, in her trole as music director of the New Centruy Chamber Orchestra, backs this up.
And while we're sharing videos... here's one of Assad's jazz combo, and here is one of the Assad Brothers - Clarice's father and uncle, who will perform her world premiere commission with ProMusica this weekend, playing with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
We'll say one last thing regarding our chat with Clarice. It was indeed that, a chat - meaning not an interview. She was relaxed, forthcoming and friendly, and while we were on the phone, across three times zones, and had never met, she put The Beat at ease with her pleasant demeanor, generosity with her time and of course, welcome but entirely unnecessary flattery ("That's a good question" is one of an interviewer's favorite things to hear.)