Share This Page

Nathan Davis duet will have premiere at New York's Carnegie Hall

| Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Dr. Nathan Davis with Cecile and Eric Springer at the dinner party for the premiere of the Jazzopera Just Above my Head at the Duquesne Club. Tribune-Review file

Saxophonist and educator Nathan Davis has written a cello-piano duet that will be premiered Friday at the Weill Recital Hall in New York City's Carnegie Hall.

“The older I get, the easier this writing thing gets,” says Davis, director of jazz studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Davis was commissioned to write the piece by cellist Misha Quint, founder of the InterHarmony International Music Festival, which allows students to study music in the United States and abroad to broaden their cultural knowledge.

The work is called “Matryoshka Blues,” referring to the Russian dolls that are embedded within one another.

The work is mostly written in the serious concert vein, Davis says, but has stylistic influences from jazz stars such as Joe Henderson and John Coltrane.

“You know me,” he says. “There is going to be some jazz in there.”

Davis says his work with Russian emigre Quint goes back to 2004, when Davis' opera, “Just Above My Head,” was performed in Pittsburgh.

Quint was in the audience and liked the opera so much, he asked Davis to write something for him. The saxophonist wrote a concerto for strings and then a piece for piano, cello and orchestra, but they never were able to arrange performances of them.

Finally, they decided to work on a smaller piece that would be simpler to perform.

Davis says David Baker, the well-known jazz educator from the University of Indiana at Bloomington, gave him a cello so he could get a better understanding of the instrument.

But, he says Quint did express some surprise at some of Davis' writing for the instrument. Davis says he used in those talks some of the thinking Baker had expressed when he wrote a piece for Menahem Pressler and the Beaux Arts Trio.

“David told him, ‘Of course you can play this stuff. You guys told me you were the baddest cats in the world,” he says.

Music will begin 8 p.m. Admission is $35. Details: 212-247-7800 or www.carnegiehall.org.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.