“In the early 1990s, Princeton composer Steven Mackey started to explore the sonic relationship between the electric guitar—his chosen instrument—and the violin,” writes Michael Hamad in Wednesday’s (12/7) Hartford Courant (CT). “He’s still at it; on Friday through Sunday, Mackey performs ‘Four Iconoclastic Episodes,’ a double concerto for violin and electric guitar that premiered in 2009, with violinist Sirena Huang and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, conducted by music director Carolyn Kwan…. Q: What attracted you to the pairing of the violin and the electric guitar? A: Twenty-plus years ago, I wrote … ‘Physical Property’ for string quartet and electric guitar…. A slightly distorted electric guitar … actually goes very well with stringed instruments…. It ended up being very successful. … Q: In 2016, are there still orchestra-goers whose noses get wrinkly at the idea of an electric guitar entering the symphony hall? A: Absolutely. When I started doing this in the mid-1980s, noses wrinkled everywhere, even when I played with a string quartet or on some contemporary music concert. Nowadays, it’s really common to see an electric guitar at a contemporary music concert or festival.”

Posted December 9, 2016