by Mike Telin
On Tuesday, November 25, Lorain County Community College’s Signature Series will continue with a performance by duo parnas, Madalyn Parnas, violin, and Cicely Parnas, cello. The free concert, which begins at 7:30 pm in the Studio Theatre at the Stocker Center for the Arts, includes music by Haydn, Tcherepnin, Moravec, and Handel-Halvorsen.
“This is our Northeast Ohio debut and I’m looking forward to the concert; it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Madalyn said during a telephone conversation from Washington D.C. where she and her sister were performing the Brahms Double Concerto with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. “I love the program. It’s repertoire that audiences don’t often get to hear.”
I asked Madalyn Parnas to say a bit about each of the works on their program.
“We’ll open with Haydn’s Duet in D Major. It’s a very charming little work that I’m sure was written as an entertainment piece. There is some debate as to whether or not it was actually written by Haydn. I think some people suspect that it may have been written by Hoffman, a contemporary of Haydn’s. But it’s ultimately just a really great introduction piece for a concert.”
The first half also includes Alexander Tcherepnin’s Duo for Violin and Cello. “I believe he wrote this piece after spending time in the Far East. It’s very dynamic with a lot of rhythmic drive. There are also a lot of Asian-sounding tonalities and both instruments have an equal role to play, which is very different from earlier music written for violin and cello. It’s very dense — you kind of have to have some ginger tea after you hear it. But it’s so much fun to play.”
Paul Moravec’s Parnas Duo (2012) will begin the second half. “I think Paul writes really well for string players. He has a fantastic esthetic in terms of string texture. The first piece I ever played of his was the beautiful Passacaglia for piano trio. His music has a pleasing ambiance. That’s something I always hold dear in terms of new music, and Paul has a style that resonates with me.”
The program features two well-known works, Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello and Handel-Halvorsen’s Passacaglia. “The Ravel is just an exquisite masterpiece. And there would be something missing if you didn’t play the Passacaglia on a cello/violin concert. It never fails to put a smile on the faces of the audience.”
As a duo, the sisters’ 2014-2015 season includes performances with the Alexandria and Schenectady Symphony Orchestras. They recently returned from Asia, where they performed at the Shanghai and Musical Arts Festival and Macao International Music Festival. Their third recording, duo parnas NOW (2014), features music by award-winning composers Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, and Charles Wuorinen.
Madalyn and Cicely hold Artist Diplomas from the Indiana University, where they studied with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. Additionally, Madalyn holds a B.S. in Music Industry and French, and a M.A. from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where she studied as a 2012 Marshall Scholar. And if that weren’t enough, they both enjoy active careers as solo artists. You can read more about their individual accomplishments on their website.
What is Madalyn’s secret to juggling everything? “A lot of prayer,” she answered with a laugh. “It’s difficult, but I really love all of the opportunities that have come my way. I’m not certain there’s one secret, but the practical side of it is just simply time management, which is something my mother taught me very well. She is a master at those kinds of things and gave me a lot of tools that are very helpful in having an efficient day. Planning ahead and making arrangements in advance is important. So yes, one needs to be very organized about time.”
Madalyn also enjoys being part of an academic setting and is currently pursuing a D.M.A. at Indiana University. “One of the primary reasons I wanted to go back to school was to be part of an academic musical community again. The degree itself is really irrelevant to me. It’s about the opportunity to continue to learn and to work with people in an environment where there are so many resources available to you, especially in the area of new music. The chance to play with the New Music Ensemble is amazing. We cross paths with so many guest composers and that aspect of school has always been very appealing to me.”
How did she find the experience of performing in China? “The experience on the stage was incredible. The audience was the most enthusiastic audience I have ever played for — we were called back six times.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 18, 2014.
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