Video Premiere: Kimberly Sparr Performs Molly Joyce’s ABC

Today’s Four/Ten Media video premiere features violist Kimberly Sparr performing Molly Joyce’s ABC for viola and electronics.

Commissioned by Kimberly Sparr to explore the sonic possibilities of viola with electronics, ABC is one of three works to emerge from an initiative to expand the contemporary viola repertoire. The project is supported in part by Texas Tech University’s J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Here’s what Molly had to say about ABC:

ABC was written to explore the dynamic between live performer, electronic track, and the possibilities that can emerge when one counters their traditional roles. With the work, I aimed to have the performer start off “accompanying” the electronic track, and eventually assume their more anticipated role of a featured performer. I hope that through such an exchange and interaction, the live performer’s physicality and virtuosity can be seen and heard from a new perspective.

About Molly Joyce

Molly Joyce’s music has been described as one of “serene power” (New York Times), written to “superb effect” (The Wire), and “impassioned” (The Washington Post). Her works have been commissioned and performed by ensembles including the New World, New York Youth, Pittsburgh, Albany, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, and the New Juilliard, Decoda, and Contemporaneous ensembles. Additionally, her work has been presented at TEDxMidAtlantic, Bang on a Can Marathon, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Classical:NEXT, VisionIntoArt’s FERUS Festival, and featured in outlets such as Pitchfork, Red Bull Radio, WNYC’s New Sounds, I Care If You Listen, and The Log Journal.

Molly often sings and plays with her vintage toy organ, an instrument she bought on eBay and loves for how it engages her disabled left hand. As a collaborator she has worked with visual artists Lex Brown, Leo Castaneda, Alteronce Gumby, Maya Smira, Julianne Swartz, choreographers Melissa Barak, Kelsey Connolly, Carlye Eckert, Jerron Herman, librettist James Kennedy, and poets Marco Grosse and Jacqueline Suskin. Molly studied at The Juilliard School, Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and Yale School of Music. She is an alumnus of the National YoungArts Foundation, and has studied with Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Guus Janssen, David Lang, Hannah Lash, Missy Mazzoli, Martijn Padding, and Christopher Theofanidis.

About Kimberly Sparr

Equally skilled as a soloist, chamber and orchestral violist, Kimberly Sparr has garnered praise for her versatility and virtuosity across the United States and beyond. She has performed with numerous orchestras and festivals on three continents, and currently serves as the assistant principal viola of the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, violist of the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, and the Amistella Duo.
“Sparr’s warm viola sound was so sublime that is was difficult to face what was going on in the real world,” the Boulder Daily Camera said. Now Sparr, an associate professor of viola at Texas Tech University’s J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, is spearheading an effort to expand the repertoire of the instrument itself.