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15 Questions to Teresa McCollough

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I am currently in the Bay Area, California

What's on your schedule right now?
The Interpretations concert on April 9th!

The "Interpretations" series is celebrating its 20th season this year. In which way does this bring back personal memories for you?
As I don’t live in NY, and have only ever attended one Interpretations concert as a visitor, I don’t have particular “personal memories” related to the series. However, I have developed a deep respect and admiration for the work of this series, and it’s founder Tom Buckner

What, to you, makes "Interpretations" stand out from the cornucopia of contemporary music series?
It seems to be more completely devoted to music of living composers, and in particular, those composers who might be considered more experimental, or “avant-garde”, while still holding a place for the more “traditional” leaders and founders of this genre.

In which way, would you say, has "Interpretations" been marked by its location
– is there something typical New York'ean about it?

I like the current location. Very small, hip, urban. Less formal than an “uptown” venue.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What's your approach to performing on stage?
Good live performance needs to engage the audience and connect them to the music and the performers.

How do you balance your personal emotions and the intentions of the composer in your interpretations?
I try to play music that I feel I can connect with -- that has an emotional impact for me, and for which I have something to communicate that is my own. I feel my emotions relate to the music, so (hopefully) the music will connect to the audience.

How would you describe and rate the scene for contemporary composition in the area you are currently living in?
The Bay area is host to many fine new music ensembles, and a variety of musical offerings. It’s a great scene. but there could be more. The Bay area is hampered by the need to be in your car to get most places. There could be three equally fabulous concerts going on at the same time but in three different parts of the area: SF, Oakland SJ, etc. Maybe we just need better transportation and coordination of events?

Do you consider it important that more young people care for contemporary composition? If so, how, do you think, could this be achieved?
The future of music depends upon creating an audience, so it is very important that young people develop an appreciation for all music, including contemporary composition. If they know something about it, then they can usually connect to it. Today’s youth are much more open to new sounds than the previous generation, in my opinion. Their sound world is vast. They just need more information.

How would you rate the importance of the internet and new media for you personally?
It’s a fast and easy way to get your message out.

What's your view on the relationship between musical education and music?
The more you know…… the more you know…

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
Programming is an art form, so each program would have to be put together based upon its’ own special attributes. One piece affects the choice of the next piece, and so on. I am struck by some of the bad programming that I see in today’sconcerts, particularly with regard to new music. It should be at the center of the program, not as an afterthought.

How would you describe the relationship with your instrument?
I love my piano…….. but I am always looking for new sounds. Probably why I like to play with percussionists. They have so many cool toys….

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
I play a pretty mean cowbell : )

New American Piano Music (Innova) 2001
Music for Hammers and Sticks (Innova) 2004

Teresa McCollough

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