Tri-County Concert: A look into the annual concert series.

      On Sunday, October 21, there was a Tri-County Concerts Association emerging artists concert.  This series is dedicated to showcasing young, talented musicians.  On Sunday, clarinetist, Narek Arutyunian, performed a series of folk-inspired pieces in McInnis auditorium.  He was accompanied by pianist, Christopher Goodpasture.  Although Tri-County Concerts Association considers him to be an ‘upcoming artist’, Narek Arutyunian has traveled all over the world performing clarinet pieces.  He has traveled to Australia, Asia and Europe, as well as all over the United States.

      Narek was born in Armenia but was raised in Moscow, Russia.  He graduated from The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music in 2018.   He currently lives in New York City, but he travels a lot for his music career.  The clarinet that he plays was a gift from Vladimir Spivakov, a famous Russian violinist and conductor of chamber music.

       At the concert on Sunday, he played pieces by Schumann, Bartok, Manuel de Falla, Brahms and Schoenfield.  Before playing pieces by each composer, he gave a brief history of the composer’s life while composing their folk pieces and why he chose to play them. Narek expressed his passion for folk music for clarinet, as the clarinet is universally an instrument that represents each culture’s folk music.  Not only did Arutyunian play folk music from well-known composers, but he actually arranged some of the pieces that he performed.  Some of the compositions were meant for other instruments and Arutyunian decided that it would sound good for clarinet.  Arranging a piece for another instrument is hard work, and it is commendable that Arutyunian did this himself.

       Folk music on clarinet is unique in the fact that it has a broad range of tempo and pitch.  The songs that Arutyunian played were slow at times, like “Nana” in the Suite Populaire Espagnole by Manuel de Falla and “Pe loc” in the Romanian Folk Dances by Bartok.  They then became quick and upbeat at others, like “Vivace” by Brahms and the Five Pieces in Folk Style by Schumann.  All of the pieces that he performed had a wide range of pitches from low to very, very high pitched notes.  Performing these pieces, especially the quick ones, involved a lot of coordination and subtle signs between Arutyunian and Goodpasture, his piano accompanist.  The unpredictable tempo needed to be kept up between the clarinet and piano to create unity in sound.  They managed this very well through eye contact and head nods. This showed a lot of skill in working as a team, especially as two solo musicians.

      Arutyunian’s accompanist, Christopher Goodpasture, was just as talented.  While not being the featured artist in this concert, he still proved to be very skilled and passionate about the folk music being played.  He is a graduate of Yale University and The Juilliard School.  He has performed all over the U.S. and has collaborated with many musicians.  He will soon release an album called Pollination.  While he served just as an accompanist on Sunday, Arutyunian decided last-minute that he wanted Goodpasture to perform a solo piece after the intermission.  This was a humble gesture, as Goodpasture  is also a talented solo musician and was kind enough to serve as an accompanist for this occasion.

      On February 3, 2019, Alexander Hersh, a cellist who also performs for the Tri-County Concerts Associated for upcoming musicians, will be performing at Eastern’s McInnis Auditorium. There is no doubt that he will also successfully show his skill in music and amaze the crowd with his talent as a young musician.

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