The Casa Mas de Miquel in Barcelona is a striking building on the Avinguda Diagonal in the heart of the city. Designed by Domènec Sugrañes i Gras, one of Gaudí’s protegés and the man entrusted with finishing the Sagrada Familia after Gaudí’s death, the building combines Gaudí’s modernist style of windows with classicist pillars and features a stunning tiered oval courtyard capped with an ornate, highly decorated cupola.
I first saw the building in a brochure in July when I visited the Open House Barcelona office to talk about a musical collaboration and, even looking at it in a black and white photograph, I knew that if they agreed to the project, this was the building I wanted to write music for.
As it happened they agreed and I wrote a piece for violin and cello to be performed in the courtyard on the day of the event, October 23rd, a day which I consider to be the highlight of my artistic life thus far.
The building had recently been converted to private residencies and a lot of people wanted to get a look inside it so the line went all the way down the block and around the corner. The managers allowed 140 people to come in at a time. The Open House volunteer told them about the architecture and then introduced me and I talked about the project and my music and then the musicians performed the piece.
When it was over everyone hung out for a bit taking in the space and then they were ushered out and another 140 people were ushered in and we started it all over again. In all well over a thousand people heard my music that day and the responses were wonderful.
I was really moved by the concentration that the audience gave the performance and by the conversations I had. I remember thanking a woman for coming and she said to me, “no, es un regalo” or “no, it’s a gift.”
The day was magical for me because not only was my music being performed in an incredible space for oodles of appreciative people but also because it was happening in Barcelona, a place for which I’ve long had a fascination.
After the final performance the musicians and I had lunch in a nearby cafe with the videographer and a few others. We talked in a mixture of Spanish, Catalan, English and German and I felt like I was in heaven.
I spent nearly three months of 2016 in five different European countries and, there as well as in the U.S., I heard the same thing. Close the borders, expel the foreigners, bring back outsourced jobs, preserve our cultural heritage. I don’t know where it’s all heading but I do know that travel, language study and international projects have enriched my life incredibly and opened me to all kinds of different ways of seeing the world.
The new year is a time of hope and I have a very sincere hope that we won’t let fear get the better of us this year and in the years to come. I like cultural diversity and I like the idea of a global village in which we recognize the humanity in others and I hope we get there. In the meantime I’ll always have that magical day in Barcelona.
- Written by: Seth Boustead
- On: January 3, 2017
Leave a Reply
‘The Heart of the World’ Performance in Mexico City
ACM is bringing our Sound of Silent Film Festival to Mexico City and I’m thrilled that the score I wrote [...]4/28/2017 and 4/29/2017
Sound of Silent Film Festival in Chicago April 22nd
How quickly twelve years go by. Hard to believe but on April 22nd we’ll give our twelfth annual Sound of [...]April 22, 20177:30 PM$20
Late Night at National Sawdust: Chaos Theory on April 21
I am very proud of this new series, a quarterly concert series showcasing the globality and diversity of today’s classical [...]4/21/20179:30 PM$34
My Piano Concerto “Satori” to be Premiered March 9!
The fabulous Marta Aznavoorian will join the Chicago Composers Orchestra as soloist in the World Premiere of my new piano [...]3/9/20177:30$20
Playing with Jenny Lin February 12
I’m sharing a bill with the fabulous pianist Jenny Lin. She’ll play a piece of mine and new music by [...]2/12/20178:30 PM$10
‘Veil’ to be Performed January 20 at National Sawdust
The second movement of my string quartet, Veil, will be performed on Friday, January 20th at National Sawdust in Brooklyn [...]
‘Half State’ to be Performed December 14
My solo flute piece Half State will be performed on Wednesday, December 14 at the studio of Ensemble Mise-en in [...]
I won ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award for Broadcasting Excellence
I just learned that I’m one of the winners of this year’s Deems Taylor award which is really exciting. It’s [...]
Open House Barcelona is Saturday
I’m about to jump on a plane for Barcelona because ACM is working with their Open House project for the [...]
Open House Chicago is this weekend
ACM will have musicians in two locations this weekend performing at the long-shuttered and recently reopened Colvin House and the [...]
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- September 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013