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15 Questions to Metaphor

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Tina Guo: Hi! I'm doing well, sitting in my room on campus at USC :)
Anna Stafford: I am in Olympia, Washington. I leave for Los Angeles tomorrow morning. I am just fine, thanks.
Nicole Marcus: I’m doing good, thank you! I’m at home.

What's on your schedule right now?
Tina Guo: This next week, Metaphor will be playing at the Whisky in Hollywood, then the next morning at 5am I'm going to Sacramento with my piano trio for a concert, then immediately after that I will be flying to Mexico City for 3 nights of the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico. Horray!
Anna Stafford: Metaphor is performing at the Whiskey this Thursday. This is my first performance with them, and I am thrilled. I also just released an album, which I spent the summer on. I also have some studio work coming up, and a few shows.
Nicole Marcus: Everything...

If you hadn't chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
Tina Guo: I would be studying medicine... or maybe psychology
Anna Stafford: I would probably be a painter in the mountains somewhere, thinking, "why didn't I choose music?"
Nicole Marcus: Be a doctor!

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
Tina Guo: Jacqueline du Pre, hands down! System of a Down and Marilyn Manson are amazing as well.
Anna Stafford:My step-father, who is a folk singer/songwriter. He gave me the confidence to pursue music professionally.
Nicole Marcus: Musically overall: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley Drums: Stewart Copeland, Dennis Chambers

What's the hardest part about being a musician and what's the best?
Tina Guo: Balancing work, school, music and doing it all well is definitely very hard. The best is of course making beautiful music, sharing my soul, performing, and creating something together with others that I'm passionate about.
Anna Stafford:The hardest part is living a life of the unexpected... but that is also the best part!
Nicole Marcus: Hardest: Being a musician :-) and all the self-criticism that comes along with it! The best part is performing and feeding off the energy of a live audience!

What's your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Tina Guo: I'm not an expert on this, but I don't think it's necessarily any worse than before. Society is ever changing, and we have to keep in mind that the classical music scene expands to the rest of the world. I believe that it's a more integral part of life in Europe, for example, than it is here in the USA. Of course I think it'd be wonderful if more people were educated about classical music.
Anna Stafford: I see the present as a big turning point for classical music. I think it will open up more to the general public, with a more relaxed appeal and relating more to today's musical vocabulary.
Nicole Marcus: There is not a crisis, but the situation is upsetting. I am from Florida, and when the Florida Phil had to shut down it was quite heartbreaking.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music any more, that it's all been done before. What do you tell them?
Tina Guo: Well, if you play like a robot and record everything without any personal interpretation or feeling, I would agree that there probably isn't a need to re-record something that's been done before. If you have something to say with your music, as a good artist should, then I'm sure others would be interested to hear what you have to present.
Anna Stafford: I say, "you can never step into the same river twice."
Nicole Marcus: I say that everything has been done before, not just in the classical genre, but in every musical category. However, there is still music to be made and the artists of today deserve a chance to be heard. Just because the precedent has been set does not invalidate new artists’ contribution to music.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What's your approach to performing on stage?
Tina Guo: Personally, I think the visual aspect should enhance the auditory pleasure of a good live performance. Depending on the genre of music being performed and personal opinion/taste, the appropriate type of visual enhancement differs. Again, I leave it up to the artist to judge for themselves.
Anna Stafford: It depends. It should be appropriate to the venue. But still surprising in some
ways, to keep it interesting. My approach is to play from your heart, and know yourself.
Nicole Marcus: A good live performance should be high energy, entertaining and engaging! My approach to performing on stage is to have as much fun as I can and connect with the audience, bring them in to the performance.

What does the word "interpretation" mean to you?
Tina Guo: How my heart and soul translates the music, without completely disregarding what the composer wrote.
Anna Stafford: In the musical sense, I'd say it means to bring out some underlying meaning or context. This could be done by playing it as you think it should be played... or not, to make a statement! But it could also have to do with using video displays or costumes to bring meaning... I hope I'm close to an answer somewhere in there.
Nicole Marcus: Putting your own stamp on a preexisting work.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
Tina Guo: There are many types of artists. For me, it's true. For others, it's may not be.
Anna Stafford: True. I'd say all thoughts and emotions come from the source, even if they are a stretch or a glimmer of imagination.
Nicole Marcus: True.

True or false: "Music is my first love"
Tina Guo: True, although I used to dream of being a famous pop singer! :P
Anna Stafford: Hmm. I would have to say False. I was always playing in the backyard as a kid... I never practiced until later.
Nicole Marcus: Absolutely, positively TRUE!

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
Tina Guo: I don't think educating someone about classical music necessarily means that the result will be the appreciation of it.  Some people can love classical music without training, some people who have been taught about it since childhood may not necessarily like it. I don't think other performers and casual audience members will look and listen to a performance the same way, just as I may not see the details and intricacies in some other art form that someone trained in that may see. However, it doesn't mean that there can't be appreciation.
Anna Stafford: I'm not entirely set on that philosophy, but it sure helps to know more about something, in order to value it and want to protect it.
Nicole Marcus: False, that’s the beauty of music, it is a universal language! Anyone can appreciate any type of music!

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
Tina Guo: A blend of the classical pieces, along with new and innovative music, like Metaphor! :)
Anna Stafford: You're talking to a composer here. I would program new works of all genres, from electronica, with video installations, to Beethoven symphonies, maybe a day of string quartets, accoustic and electrified.... the possibilities are endless.
Nicole Marcus: The Florida Phil, a performance of Frank Zappa’s orchestral work, my band, and Debussy’s The Sunken Cathedral!

What's your favourite classical CD at the moment?
Tina Guo: Du Pre's Elgar recording with Sir John Barbirolli and the London Symphony!
Anna Stafford: I downloaded a group called the Masada String Trio recently. They are an alternative group with avant-garde, classical, and folk influences... very unique! Gives me cool ideas.
Nicole Marcus: How ‘bout we change that question to “classic cd.” I am loving the Mamas and the Papas Greatest Hits!

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
Tina Guo: I actually started on Piano when I was 3, and I think I got pretty good! Lol, I still write music on the piano though :)
Anna Stafford: I play my husband's cello every once and a while... I am definitely built to play a violin.
Nicole Marcus: Yes, I play guitar and piano, and I’m good at both :-)


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