Mimi Stillman discusses how history can inform innovative music making in this in-depth interview with Susan Lewis.
The Philadelphia-based chamber group Dolce Suono is known for exploring historical connections while pushing its art form into the future. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Dolce Suono Founder Mimi Stillman believes that music is an integral part of life.
Lewis: In 2005, Stillman founded Dolce Suono, which she likens it to a repertory company.
Stillman: We form into different ensemble configurations, combinations, depending upon the repertoire we’re playing. One of our main ensembles is our trio of flute, cello, and piano with Yumi Kendall and Charlie Abramovic. We do music with flute, strings, and harp...we’ve been very active commissioning work for peirrot ensemble, which is a mixed grouping of flute, clarinet, violin, cello and percussion.
Lewis: To Stillman, who is also a music historian, music is more than notes and dynamic notations, however beautifully, or provocatively, arranged. It reflects a history – and history informs her performance.
Stillman: I think it's part of an approach to the world - not seeing every piece of music or every composer, every musical style in a vacuum. It's part of a rich tapestry of music, visual art, culture, the world of ideas.
Lewis: This year, Stillman and her ensemble are exploring the music of Debussy.
Stillman: It always enhances our performance to be approaching music from the most micro – what am I going to do with that note, that phrase? – to the most grand, sweeping –what is the context of Debussy and what do we want to say about that?
Lewis: Stilllman herself is in the midst of her year-long commitment to play Debussy’s short piece Syrinx, each day in different circumstances and venues, which she documents in videos online.
Coming up...Dolce Suono in concert at the Trinity Center for Urban life in Center City, Philadelphia, joined by Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera, on Sunday, February 17 at 3 pm.
LFC: For more on how history can inform innovative music making, listen to Susan’s interview with Mimi Stillman at WRTI.org.
Flutist Mimi Stillman founded her own chamber ensemble, Dolce Suono, in 2005. In its seven seasons, Dolce Suono has performed 23 premieres by leading composers, while still embracing the classic Baroque repertoire. WRTI's Susan Lewis looks at how this innovative chamber group is using a range of music, played in this intimate form, to connect with music lovers of all ages.