Oct 2, 2020
“Sounds of the Silenced” uplifts and weaves together voices that have been oppressed – whether by circumstance of history, internal sentiment, or tragedy. Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a Black composer from the 18th century. He was quite successful when he was alive, however, given that Mozart and Haydn were among his contemporaries, history did little justice to his prominence. Dimitri Shostakovich's eight-string quartet was dedicated to the victims of fascism and war. This work is at the center of a very complicated puzzle of Shostakovich’s life. Throughout his life it was believed that Shostakovich was a supporter of the Soviet regime, but to everyone’s surprise a revealing and controversial book – ‘Testimony’ (published four years after his passing) – depicts the composer as a closest dissident. This book revealed that this string quartet was instead a biographical work that expressed the most obscure struggles in the life of the composer. Webster Gadbois’ moving piece was inspired by Tahlequah, the Puget Sound J-pod Orca that publicly grieved for 17 days following the passage of her newborn calf.
In the summer of 2018, the southern J-pod of orcas residing in Washington states’ Puget Sound gave birth to a calf for the first time in years. 30 minutes later, the calf died of malnutrition. The mother, who has been given the name Tahlequah, proceeded to mourn the dead calf by carrying it around with her for the next seventeen days. This level of mourning is unprecedented in orcas, and the story made international headlines. The J-pod’s primary food source is Chinook salmon, which are endangered due to overfishing. This piece’s primary goal is to catalogue the tour of grief that the J-pod experienced throughout this time, with Tahlequah acting as the centerpiece. The central idea presented at the beginning of the piece initially serves as a beacon of hope for the J-pod, as it represents continued life in the face of starvation. As the calf dies, however, this idea becomes warped into a strained cry of grief, as the pod mourns the loss as a collective. As the music becomes more frantic and primal, the central idea becomes more focused on Tahlequah herself, and her refusal to let go of the calf. After a climax of suffering, the pod delivers one last eulogy, as Tahlequah learns to let go of the calf mentally, as well as physically. The piece concludes as the story concludes: with Tahlequah dropping the calf into oblivion as the pod moves on from mourning to mating with other pods.
As a postscript to this tragic tale, Tahlequah is a mother again. The Orca and her calf were documented in September 2020 near the San Juan Islands.
Composer and improviser Webster Gadbois has sought to explore creative methods of communicating the impact climate change has had on the planet. This has led him to write music about wild orcas in his hometown of Bainbridge Island, Washington. In addition to environmental motivation, Gadbois’s work centers around collaboration with artists in visual mediums, such as dancers and filmmakers. Holding a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, he is committed to the creation of work intended to foster a childlike sense of discovery and to increase dialogue around social change.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Laszlo Mezo gained national recognition as one of the top musicians of his generation at the young age of 18. He forged a career as a soloist, recitalist, master teacher, and chamber musician, has performed extensively in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, and is currently a professor in cello at Chapman University and Saddleback College in California. He is a sought after soloist, and an active studio musician in Hollywood, having played in many film scores, including Star Wars, Ice Age, Life of Pi, Wolverine, and The Lone Ranger. His first CD is a recording of Dávid Popper’s works, and his second, “Made in Paris,” includes romantic cello pieces from the 19th century.
Pat is a performer of traditional and contemporary violin literature and has performed throughout the US and Europe. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from Calif. State University Fullerton and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Calif. San Diego. Before moving to Bainbridge Island in 2001 she held the position of Principle Second violin with the San Jose Symphony. She is currently the Concertmaster of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, founder and director of Bridges; A String Orchestra and has frequently performed with Ovation! Performing Arts Northwest and BPA’s musical theatre productions.
“Being in quarantine as a musician has been difficult. I’ve found it hard to have the motivation to practice alone. I really miss not being able to rehearse in person with my music community here on Bainbridge Island, whether it’s in orchestra, chamber music or musical theater performances. The Bainbridge Pod Accomplice is a wonderful project allowing us to make music again.”
Peggy Brady, violinist, studied at the Universität für Musik and darstellende Kunst in Vienna and Arizona State University in the 70’s. She has been a member of the first violin section of the Phoenix Symphony, the violin section of the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester, the Braunschweig Staatsoper Orchestra, Principal Second Violin and Assistant Concertmaster of the Napa Valley Symphony and Principal Second Violin of the Marin Symphony. In 2004 she founded the Eloquence String Quartet and Trio of Napa Valley. The group is now in high demand for weddings and vineyard events throughout Napa and Sonoma. Soon to become a full time resident of Bainbridge Island, Peggy is enjoying a new musical project called “Olympic Serenade” – playing chamber music with other members of the Bainbridge Island Symphony.
“A highlight for me during this pandemic has been providing outdoor musical therapy for ourselves, neighbors, and friends. We have been meeting on my large open driveway on Sunday afternoons to play chamber music. The neighbors are invited to come and enjoy the music while they sip a glass of wine. Our conductor Mario has joined us several times on viola. It’s been my favorite part of the summer.”
Mario Alejandro Torres is a conductor, teacher, and performer native to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Currently based in Seattle, Washington, Mr. Torres made his Benaroya Hall conducting debut in collaboration with Maestros Ludovic Morlot and David Alexander Rahbee in an exciting concert with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra. For the past two years, he has served in a conducting fellowship with the Seattle Symphony, assisting Maestro Morlot in collaboration with artists such as Hilary Hahn and John Luther Adams. As the former Music Director of Poulsbo Community Orchestra, he brought a new and exciting sound to the ensemble. Outside of the United States, he has conducted performances with the Eddy Snijders Orchestra in Paramaribo, Suriname, and in his hometown with the professional Chamber Orchestra of San Pedro Sula, and Victoriano Lopez School of Music Choir.
“Bainbridge Performing Arts has been a very special place to me by virtue of its unique position to highlight and welcome artists, creators, writers, and more – each coming from different backgrounds and perspectives in life. This key diversity nurtures a very special community, as it does our beautiful Bainbridge Island. As Music Director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra it has been an incredible pleasure to follow those steps, and that is why I am very excited to present ‘Sounds of the Silence,’ the first October episode of BPA’s Bainbridge Pod Accomplice!”
Arlayne took her first cello lessons from Marcia Treend in 9th grade. A year later, she began studying with Thaddeus Markiewicz, assistant principal cellist with the Detroit Symphony, and continued with him until earning her Masters in Cello Performance. While in college, she performed in some Motown recordings and played in the pickup orchestras for Paul Anka and Sammy Davis (what an entertainer). In 2013, Arlayne retired as a “computer geek” and moved to Bainbridge Island, where she auditioned for the symphony and made many wonderful friends. In 2015, she started playing in local ensembles as well as musicals performed on the island.
“It is not uncommon that I am performing up to 12 nights a month. I think that is a pretty good life. During shelter in place, my biggest accomplishment is not killing my husband. Being a basic introvert (yes, really), I enjoy being home. Typically, I play Sudoku, read about WW2 code breakers, and sew for my family or myself. When the weather permits, I take my cello out on my condo deck and play unaccompanied cello for my neighbors. So far, no one is complaining.”