Schubert Violin Sonatina

A few years ago I was blessed to perform a movement from one of Schubert’s three violin “sonatinas,” his Op. 137. According to my research, Schubert actually called them “sonatas.” They’re wonderful compositions and this is only one movement from this rich collection.

Bach And Abstract Art

I think Bach’s music and abstract visual art have a kinship that is so much the same that it actually comes from the same place. It is so immediate in that it is a direct experience of the emotion and energy of the artist at the time he or she created it. This is my experience of playing Bach’s solo violin music and both observing and creating abstract visual art. Bach’s music is just full of ideas, sometimes small motives that he takes and builds massive pieces with, like in his fugues, sometimes brilliant melodies, orchestration, instrumental voices conversing with each other, I could go on. This is the same in abstract visual art. I think having an understanding of Bach’s music helps me to appreciate the works of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. I appreciate these artists a lot more now than I did when I was younger and I’m sure it’s due to studying music.

Today I was able to paint along side my daughter. She was using some watercolors. So I jumped in and painted some simple lines. What resulted was a layered abstract piece that was really fun to make! I put the video together along with a recording I made of a movement from Bach’s Sonata No. 3 for Violin Solo. Anyone can paint like this. All it takes is a bit of courage and imagination!

Quarantine Creativity

It’s been several months and after pursuing a number of creative projects I’ve decided to start blogging again! This is going to be the centralized location for all of the various creative endeavors that are taking place while I’m in quarantine with my family due to COVID. I sincerely hope you who are reading this and your families are all well and staying safe. This is a great tragedy that has befallen our world, yet I’m hoping that out of it comes a renewed sense of the human soul, creativity and expression. If we look to times such as the Middle Ages in Europe, with its Black Plague and incessant wars but also it’s majestic cathedrals and masterfully designed cities and villages which still often stand today, we can see that dark times can often also bring forth courage and truthful creativity from us. Something beautiful that has emerged is the new genre on YouTube of remote musical collaboration. As many of you know, the work I’ve been doing with my children has necessitated my stepping back from orchestra direction and chamber music performance. This has been very life altering. However, when I saw an invitation from Alma Deutscher to musicians to record her song “Star Of Hope,” I immediately set to work on it. What came about was a “Chior Of Hope” when people all over the world sent in their instrumental and vocal performances of the song! The words are so beautiful and, as Alma says, perfect for the time we’re living through right now. In fact, when I came a cross the piece I was very worried for myself and my whole family because it was just when COVID was starting to hit the U.S. But the words of this song honestly did give me hope. This song got me over my fears and got me living in courage. May it do the same for you! Here is the video. I’m the violinist wearing pink, “Mommy SeaStar” in the credits since that’s my YouTube name. This song is from Alma’s opera “Cinderella” so I dressed up like Cinderella a bit on purpose. I’ve included the collaboration video as well as the two I did alone at my home and Alma’s original video where she sings with her lovely sister, Helen. Enjoy!

Learning With Mommy SeaStar!

We continue our work with Mommy SeaStar! Think of me as a Mommy “Mr. Rodgers.” I love Mr. Rodgers and his whole philosophy! He taught me growing up that I was special, just the way I am. I want to share this feeling of self confidence with children. My daughter is on the autism spectrum. I am a big supporter of “neurodiversity.” You know, my spell check doesn’t even know that is a real word! “Neurodiversity” means that natural variations in brain function occur naturally within our human family. Neurodiversity is something to celebrate. My daughter has a unique way of seeing the world and being her mommy has opened up a totally new perspective for me! That’s where Mommy SeaStar comes in. We explore the world around us through music, art and science. We incorporate son and sensory learning into our studies because they give us a better understanding about what’s really going on! We have a whole series of videos on YouTube and I’ll be sharing many of them here! Be sure to follow us, Mommy SeaStar,  on YouTube and Instagram!


New Musical Life

As you may have noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. That’s because of my role as a mom and educator to my young children. But I still keep at it! After all, once an artist, always an artist. Here a couple of my newest projects.

I’ve started a YouTube channel called, “Mommy Seastar.” Here I post little videos for the purpose of supplying fun educational movies for kids. They’re based on the interests my kids have. I also use this channel to put my music compositions out and to create music videos. I will be using my blog here to post new videos as they come out. Here a couple Mommy Seastar videos:

I’ve also kept up composing. Spring rehearsals are underway at the La Verne Symphony Orchestra. They requested and will be performing my 9th symphonic picture at the end of this season. Here is the electronic recording my my newest symphonic piece:

And finally the Los Angeles Composers Collective will be presenting a concert on March 9th entitled, “The Sounds, The Stories: Re-imagining the Italian Art Song.” My setting of St Francis’ “Laudes Creaturarum” will be among the pieces performed. Here is the link to the concert information:

This piece took multiple steps for me to create it, so there are multiple versions which I have been putting up on the IMSLP website. The definitive version will come out after the concert, but here are the earlier versions:

I love St Francis of Assisi, so when the chance came to set this poem, I jumped at it. It’s been a big challenge completing this project, but I am happy that I fought for time to compose and am grateful to be participating in the upcoming concert. Below are the notes that will be in the concert program:

St Francis was a joyful, peaceful saint who saw the beauty of God all around him in God’s creation. Born in 1181 to a rich merchant in the hill town of Assisi, St Francis later gave up all his wealth to become a poor friar and dedicate his life to pray, love of God, and service to others. The founder of the Friars Minor, St Francis lead a very austere life and preached about giving up material wealth to make place for God’s life within the soul. This beautiful poem prayer shows St Francis’ way of praying to God through the contemplation of His beautiful creation. This creation was as it were a way God spoke to Francis of His love for him and also His great majesty. St Francis was so closely identified with Christ and His sufferings that he was given the Stigmata, the miraculous wounds of Christ. This poem was written in 1224, two years before the saint’s death in 1226.