Composer creates unusual ensemble |

Composer creates unusual ensemble

The Associated PressShahmatova
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

A composition for violin and four-hand piano will have its world premiere at Sunday’s Twin Cities Concert Association performance.

“The New Life” by Nevada City composer Mark Vance is the first time in the association’s 56-year plus history that a work has been commissioned, said Julie Taylor, the nonprofit organization’s executive director.

“We searched for a piece for four-hands piano and solo violin for a couple of months and could not find one. It is a rare combination,” Taylor said. “We know that Mark is an accomplished composer and is very capable of writing such a piece.

This piece is really cool.”

Vance, whose works have frequently been performed by the Nevada Union High School Chamber Choir and Music in the Mountains, finished “The New Life” last weekend.

Since 1969, Vance has written plenty of choral and instrumental works, but never anything like “The New Life.”

“This is a real unusual ensemble. There’s been a lot of pieces written for piano and violin. I don’t think you’ll ever find anything like this unless it’s a reduction of a violin concerto,” said Vance, who credits pianists Ken Hardin and Aileen James from the association with giving him the concept.

“I never would have thought of this piece if they hadn’t approached me,” Vance said. “My eyes crossed, I said, ‘Huh.’ As a composer, you’re so pleased to be asked, you say ‘OK’ and ask questions later.”

Vance is looking forward to Friday’s rehearsal, when he will hear the 10-minute piece in full for the first time.

“Parts are very upbeat and rhythmic, very straight-ahead moving with introspective, grave middle sections,” Vance said of “The New Life.”

It’s about “waking up one day and saying it’s time to move in a new direction, a new life.”

Playing the piece will be Russian violinist Larissa Shahmatova and pianists Hardin and James. The musicians have appeared in other Twin Cities Concert Association performances.

Shahmatova will also play works of Mozart, Beethoven, Kreisler, Sarasate and Paganini.

Born in Vladivostok, Russia, Shahmatova performed solo at age 17 with Russia’s major orchestras. She won awards in the Russian National Diaghilev Competition and the First International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians.

In the early 1990s, Shahmatova attended the Aspen Music Festival on a full scholarship and then received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Julliard School.

Concert goers can come early for the “Meet the Artist” forum at 1:15 p.m., 45 minutes prior to the concert.

Vance will talk briefly about the creative process. The musicians will also attend a post-concert reception presented by the Twin Cities Concert Association’s Board of Directors.


WHAT: Twin Cities Concert Association concert

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Seventh-day Adventist Church, 12889 Osborn Hill Road, off Highway 174 in Grass Valley

ADMISSION: $14 for adults, free for children 5-17 when accompanied by an adult.

INFO: 470-9454, or check out

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