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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 Kristen Tomkowid at 7:38PM
Nicholas DiEugenio

Blog post written by Kristen Tomkowid, Journalism '15, FLEFF Intern, Poughkeepsie, New York

Nicholas DiEugenio is an assistant professor in the IC School of Music with specialties in violin and chamber music. At this year's festival, Carmina Burana will be performed by local musicians. DiEugenio talked about his involvement with this performance.

Kristen Tomkowid: How did you become a part of FLEFF?

Nicholas DiEugenio: I'm extremely privileged to live in Ithaca and to teach violin at the IC School of Music. One of my colleagues, Deborah Martin, is organizing this year's FLEFF performance of Carmina Burana, and she asked if I would be interested in participating. Of course I was glad to accept the offer! 

KT: Have you ever performed Carmina Burana before? If yes, where/when? 

ND: I have never been a part of a performance of this work before. However, even if I had, I would not have done anything like what I am doing in this particular performance. Since we will be using many instruments to cover vocal parts (both solo parts and choral parts), I will actually be playing my violin in an attempt to evoke a soprano soloist in two specific moments in the cantata. This is kind of like the reverse of a "pants" role, which might seem rare, though I do get to do this quite often as a violinist! I wonder if it is the first time that this type of musical impersonation has ever been done with Carmina Burana. 

KT: What is your favorite part of the piece and why?

ND: I'm not sure that I have a "favorite part" of the piece, but I think my favorite aspect of this piece is its original conception. It was designed to be a piece of music to go with visual movement. It's often performed as a concert cantata, but its birth as a piece of multimedia art gives it a tremendous adaptability, and creative directors can take it in many different directions. It's no wonder that this quality has been exploited over the years in commercial advertising--my brain always associates the opening of Carmina Burana with a desire to join the Marines, and I wonder why! So, the music has this "empty vessel" quality which is actually quite potent when combined with strong visual imagery, and I think that is what I appreciate most about this piece.  

KT: What do you want people to take away from the performance?

ND: Hopefully this performance will be memorable for all of its musical innovation (down-scaling to two pianos, using instrumentalists to cover vocal parts, using the Trombone Troupe to cover chorus parts!), and for its powerful visual imagery in conjunction with the music. These aspects will make the performance unique, and hopefully any person in attendance will enjoy and remember a unique artistic experience which crosses boundaries and blends many senses. 

KT: Are you going to see anything else FLEFF is doing? If yes, what are you most excited for?

ND: There are a few films programmed at the Ithaca Cinemapolis that are of particular interest to me; since I've recently traveled to both Russia and China to perform, I am interested to see China Concerto, Lost Boys, and No Problem. I'm also really interested in October, a silent movie for which the Cloud Chamber Orchestra will provide live music. 

Will we see you at Carmina Burana?

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