Music was not allowed for Classical Musicians…history

I wish we’d had some cool music of the times when I was in youth orchestras in the late 60s and early 70s.

“Imagine” incorporating the repertoire of those days?!

I am so happy to see that times have changed for string players.  We are allowed to enjoy a world’s worth of music and not be penned into Classical European corrals. Ya gotta get technique and chops from somewhere, the repertoire is awesome and inspiring.  However there’s lots more.

Julie Lyonn Lieberman was going global back in the 70s. Her radio Broadcasts of the history of violin playing (American) through the decades was an amazing audio compilation and history lesson.  She has gone on to begin the Alternative Strings section for ASTA. We got a voice! We were almost “legit”

I was privileged to give workshops on North Indian Music, to translate some of the mysteries of form, techniques. Sharing my  global musical experiences.

Meeting and playing alongside Mark Wood, and with Mark O’Connor (now in residence at Univ of Miami) , Christian Howes- Jerry Goodman, Jean Luc Ponty, Michael Urbaniak, Noel Pointer and more  whom I haven’t mentioned have shaken the trees with gusto for so long that it was inevitable that we reached a “Tipping Point”.

I missed out on the music of my generation because I had to just study Classical. That’s what serious players did.  But later in life, by about age 19 (when I got my first Professional  job with the RI Phil), I certainly stepped out of the mold by going electric with a custom solid body, improvising and then taking up a whole new & intense course of study- North Indian Classical music (Raga)

Anyway…to all the young players…keep on pushing the boundaries….there are none : )

History in Music

Here’s a little more info about my evolution and roots:

At the age of nine, she began playing in her public school’s instrumental program. Her musical father noticed her passion for music and encouraged her to continue. By the time she turned fourteen, Vicki Richards decided that being a professional musician was her life’s calling. A unique talent, Vicki has developed a distinctive new style of playing the violin, taking bowing and articulation from her “western” classical training, smooth vocal style glissandos from her North Indian classical music immersion and combining these with the driving hand drum rhythms of contemporary and ancient world music.


At the age of nineteen, Vicki was well on her way to establishing her professional status as a classical violinist. She had toured Europe, taken master classes with Joseph Gingold at Indiana University and become the youngest member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Curious and restless, she listened intently to jazz contemporaries including Jan Hammer, John McLaughlin, Airto, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.

Her love for the avant guarde scene continued to blossom and in 1976 she commissioned a custom-built, solid body electric violin with quadraphonic pick-ups and plugged it into a wah-wah pedal and a Fender amp. Uncomfortable with jazz’s approach to harmonic improvisation, she became intrigued with the rhythmical and classical improvisational methods of the Banaras tabla tradition.


Vicki was awarded a Professional Development Grant from the America Institute of Indian Studies (Univ of Chicago) in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution which enabled her to spend many months in Banaras, India where she experienced total immersion in the culture and classical traditions of the Hindustani violin under the guidance of violin master Smt. Dr. N. Rajam and sitar virtuoso Sri Amar Nath Misra.


Upon her return from the East, she re-settled in New York City for a short time, sharing the stage with improvisers such as Paul McCandless of Oregon and Dave Samuels of Spyro Gyra and working as a full time member of the American Jewish Congress’ New Music Ensemble. She also appeared as a soloist playing Indian classical violin at Carnegie Recital Hall, catching the attention of a world-renowned New York Times critic and establishing herself as one of the few Westerners recognized as legitimate exponents of pure Indian classical tradition.


In 1981, her intense interest in rhythm led to a close collaboration with Robert Thomas Jr. of Weather Report  the Zawinul Syndicate) fame. She also began melodic and harmonic collaboration with Amitava Chatterjee, an electric guitarist and sitarist with a shared vision of improvisation using both Eastern and Western elements. Bobby’s compelling hand drumming and Amit’s melodic and harmonic concepts form the perfect grid over which Vicki works her technical and melodic wizardry. Vicki’s association with Bobby and Amit continues to this day.


In South Florida collaborations have included Frank Carmelitano, Statoshi Takeishi, Jean Balduc & many more players.

Currently her music colleagues also include Jeff Deen (tabla & percussion), Mitch Kopp (guitars), Layne Redmond, Jorge Alfano (multi instrumentalist)

Original and subtle Beauty

Visual attraction. What if we were to stop and appreciate the subtleness of the ordinary?

Beauty is “Enhancements”?

 This photo was enhanced with effects. The next post will have the original. Both exteriors are appealing to me. What captured my attention was the stillness-It was in sight for  3 days and nights. The presence of this quiet creature graced the entrance of my house. Had I not looked carefully, allowed myself the time to inspect and be amazed at this unique bug, I’d have missed the beauty.
In this photo, I’ve dressed up the image.
It’s eye catching and draws more attention than the original which has more subtle shadings.