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15 Questions to Joan Jeanrenaud

img  Tobias
Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hi!  This is Joan Jeanrenaud here in San Francisco, California.

What’s on your schedule right now?

I just finished a concert presented by the San Francisco Contemporary Players in San Francisco’s Yerba Bueba Theater.  I premiered a Terry Riley piece, ‘Olde English’, and Fred Frith’s new work, ‘Save As’ for cello and percussion (featuring William Winant)….both works written for me.  Also I performed Annie Gosfield’s work she wrote for me in 2003 called ‘Harmony of the Body Machine’ for cello and heavy machinery sounds.  I am on my way to NYC in a week to perform works of my own, ‘Vermont Rules’ and ‘Strange Toys’,  for the Look and Listen Festival on April 14.  Both works feature looping that I perform live.  Then it is back to San Francisco to finish work on a kid’s theater production with Emily Klion at the Marsh Theater in May.

If you hadn’t chosen for music, what do you think you would do right now?
Something in the field of visual arts.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist?
Jacqueline Dupre as a cellist, Miles Davis as an improvisor, Roman Polanski as a film maker, Josph Cornell as an artist.

What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
Music is not regarded as an essential element in our lives in American society which is discouraging but watching how music can effect people’s lives in a positive way is always inspiring.

What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

I think if  music (any kind of music) is presented and performed with imagination and skill people can respond accordingly and find meaning in it for their lives.

Some feel there is no need to record classical music anymore, that it’s all been done before. What do you tell them?
Today it is easier to record than ever… and we can even do it ourselves in our living rooms.  Why not record?

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
I enjoy presenting new compositions to an audience after working with the composer and understanding and knowing the music as  best I can.  For me it is successful if I manage to perform the work as I envision it at the moment.

What does the word “interpretation” mean to you?

To interpret a composition means to understand the composer’s intentions and to make that come alive to a listener in the clearest most direct way through phrasing, dynamics, sound, ect.

True or false: It is the duty of an artist to put his personal emotions into the music he plays.
I don’t know if it is a duty… but why play music if it does not to touch your soul and make you want to respond emotionally.

True or false: “Music is my first love”
Certainly music is not my first love, as I did not begin playing the cello which introduced me to music until I was 11.  I try and love the universe first and hope my music reinforces/expresses that.

True or false: People need to be educated about classical music, before they can really appreciate it.
People have to learn to open their ears and be responsive and then they can hear all sorts of music/sounds with more appreciation.

You are given the position of artistic director of a concert hall. What would be on your program for this season?
That is a big question which requires more thought than the time I have now… but probably new music in unusual contexts… like DJ Spooky’s  ‘Birth of a Nation’ and Paul Dresher’s ‘Slow Fire’.

What’s your favourite classical CD at the moment?
Matt Haimovitz 6 Bach Suites

Have you ever tried playing a different instrument? If yes, how good were you at it?
Electric Bass is  fun to play but I am no Jaco Pastorius……

Jean Jeanrenaud

Discography (with Kronos Quartet):
Kronos Quartet Performs Alfred Schnittke (Nonesuch)
John Adams: John's Book of Alleged Dances (Nonesuch)
Osvaldo Golijov: The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (Nonesuch)
Tan Dun: Ghost Opera  (Nonesuch)
Early Music (Nonesuch)
Howl, U.S.A. (Nonesuch)
Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (Nonesuch)
Released: 1985-1995  (Nonesuch)
Night Prayers (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Short Stories (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Henryk Gorecki: String Quartets Nos 1 and 2 (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Morton Feldman: Piano and String Quartet (Elektra/Nonesuch)
At the Grave of Richard Wagner (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Bob Ostertag: All the Rage (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Pieces of Africa (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Witold Lutoslawski: String Quartet (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Kevin Volans: Hunting:Gathering (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Astor Piazzolla: Five Tango Sensations (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Henryk Górecki: Already it is Dusk
Black Angels (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Kronos Quartet Plays Terry Riley (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Steve Reich: Different Trains (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Winter Was Hard (Elektra/Noneusch)
Terry Riley: Cadenza on the Night Plain (Gramavision)
White Man Sleeps (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Kronos Quartet (Elektra/Nonesuch)
Music of Bill Evans (Landmark)
Kronos Quartet Plays Music of Thelonious Monk  (Landmark)
Mishima (Nonesuch)


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