Karen Bentley Pollick: Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity

International new music violinist Karen Bentley Pollick returns to Seattle after recent performances at the Music of Changes festival in Klaipeda, Lithuania and SPECTRUMNYC with a diverse program fusing music and videos from Lithuania, France, Lebanon, Israel and America. To celebrate the interplay between light and dark during the longest night of the year, the visuals will evolve from black and white diptychs and grey scale pen and ink drawings, to a kaleidoscope of abstract colors, desert and Martian landscapes, and cityscapes in Beirut and Vilnius.

Ethereal Baltic harmonies haunt Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s Serenity Diptychs. Israeli spectral composer Ayal Adler contributes Contrasts in Time, an intense interaction of colors – both in sight and sound. In Cluck Old Hen Variations, David A. Jaffe merges Paganini with bluegrass fiddling style. Dominique de Williencourt’s soulfully evocative Mont Ararat simulates a duo of duduks on scordatura viola. Hooked to the Silver Screen by Daniel Felsenfeld is an homage to David Bowie’s Life on Mars, with the plaintive viola solo mirroring the meanderings of Rover questing for a mate. Randall Woolf’s thought provoking music is featured in the film Beirut is a House of Many Rooms. Brian Moon’s lamentation Duetto con Bobik features the vocals of Karen’s beloved, yet deceased beagle merged with camerawork by her current hound dog Fella on the cobblestones of Vilnius. (Complete program notes are here.)

For several years now Bentley Pollick has shared her time between Vilnius and Evergreen, Colorado, pursuing an active career as a soloist and chamber musician, as well as producing various projects in the U.S. and elsewhere. Her unabating thirst for new music, “keen sense for gleaning quality in experimental music and giving these scores their rightful due” (Michael Huebner, Birmingham News) characterizes Bentley Pollick as a highly gifted and creative performer, equally adroit on the violin and viola. Being open to new experiences and social life, she may frequently be seen attending diverse cultural events and collaborating with various artists from across disciplines. In Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity, she covers a wide range of imaginative interactions between imagery and music.