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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Anna Bornstein at 5:28PM
Deborah Martin

Blog posting by Anna Bornstein, Environmental Studies and Cinema Photography 20', FLEFF Blogging Intern, Stonington, CT.


With only one month until FLEFF’s opening night, anticipation is building among us interns for the kickoff concert in Hockett Recital Hall. The festivals opening concert will feature a wide spectrum of live music and visual accompaniments to coincide with the theme of geography.


Earlier this week I had the chance to interview Dr. Deborah Martin, one of two pianists  performing at this years concert. Professor and Chair of Performance Studies here at IC, Dr. Martin holds a bachelors in piano performance, a masters in piano performance and literature, and a doctorate of piano literature and pedagogy.


Martin became affiliated with FLEFF about 10 years ago when colleague Jairo Geronymo and festival director Dr.Patricia Zimmermann were brainstorming ideas for a unique opening concert. Geronymo  and Dr. Martin had the idea of performing duo piano music as a nice twist to a traditional concert setting. Martin has been performing at the annual concert ever since.


This year's concert will feature Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an exhibition,” but the score only serves as framework for the actual performance.


“ We usually start with a two piano work that we want to play, and then we start adding things and trying new things.  It's a lot like cooking without a recipe! Somehow we always find ways for the music to connect with the theme. I can't say which comes first - it's a little bit of "the chicken and the egg."


With the theme of geography in mind, I found myself wondering about classical music repertoire. Music is a constantly evolving art form, yet orchestras will perform the same symphonies that they've been doing for hundreds of years. Why Bach? Why Schubert? What keeps us coming back to these pieces?


“As for why we keep performing the same things - well, we certainly don't perform ALL the music that was written from long ago!  What didn't rise to the top sort of quietly slips away until someone comes along and unearths it and tries to advocate that it shouldn't have been forgotten (Bach’s music wasn’t actually widely performed until the mid 1800’s, almost 100 years after he died!)  Not all politicians are remembered or have holidays on the calendar! Not all literature is read. But generally speaking, the good stuff survives, and when you play it, you somehow sense that you are in the presence of greatness.”


So try and remember this the next time you hear a piece of classical music: you’re hearing it because enough people believed it shouldn’t be forgotten that musicians still breathe life into it today. Music survives only as long as people are willing to play it, only so long as people are willing to listen. These masterpieces weren’t forgotten for a reason, so listen.


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