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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Present Music: Bits of Bittová, Rhythms by Reich

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"The violin accompanies me all the time. Everything around me is under its influence," explains singer, violinist, composer and actress Iva Bittová.

"The violin is a mirror reflecting my dreams and imagination," she continues, both of which surely will be made most evident in an upcoming concert.

She was born in the Moravian section of Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) in 1958, and fell in with acting, dancing and violin from an early age, but it was the latter that came to the forefront of her interests (as her statements above clearly show) while Bittová was still in her 20s. Above all, she's a violinist-composer, her works reflecting modern pop/rock, classical as well as Eastern European folk elements. Notes from a 2010 Carnegie Hall performance describe Bittová "playing the strings (of her violin) with various objects and plucking them like a banjo. Her vocal utterances range from traditional singing to chirping, cackling and deep throat noises. She puts her whole body into her performances..."

In addition to the dozen different works that Ms. Bittová will be performing, the Present MusicEnsemble takes up the Double Sextet (2007) by famous American minimalist composer Steve Reich (b. 1936). This work is scored for doubled flutes, clarinets, violins, cellos, vibraphones and pianos. Reich won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music—his first—for his Double Sextet.

This concert featuring Iva Bittová and the Present Music Ensemble takes place March 19 at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center.
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