Students Develop Original Compositions as Part of Violinist Tracy Silverman’s Residency

December 8, 2017

On the eve of a performance at Brown’s Granoff Center, renowned violinist Tracy Silverman settled into a rehearsal room in Steinert Hall to run through several new works created specifically for him.

With his six-stringed electric violin, an instrument he designed in the early 1980s, a music stand in front of him and a host of equipment at his feet — the pedals and controls he uses to loop, add distortion, reverb and other effects — Silverman delved into a piece called “Rock and a Hard Place” by Brown sophomore Max Friedman.

As he played, he paused every now and then to describe what Friedman’s composition called for and to confer with Friedman and Assistant Professor of Music Eric Nathan about slight adjustments that could change how the piece sounded.

The rehearsal was part of what Nathan called a blitz of activity capping Silverman’s semester-long engagement with students in Nathan’s course, “Timbre in Electroacoustic Music.” Through multiple in-person meetings and Skype conferences, the Nashville-based Silverman worked with Friedman and his classmates — undergraduate students Maita Eyzaguirre and Reid Merzbacher and graduate student Marcel Zaes — as they composed works for him to perform.

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