Leading up to our Teleformation show, we will be writing about a few of our composers and performers! Vijay Chalasani told us a bit about himself in preparation for the big show. In addition to playing, he was a big part of getting the show on its feet, so we hope you enjoy reading about him!
Tickets will be available at the door, and rest assured we will have Lagunitas beer present, as they have offered their generous support of the arts.
My name is Vijay Chalasani, and I play viola and baroque viola. I’m a Northern California native currently living in San Francisco, and I’m an active freelancer in the regional orchestra and early music scenes in the Bay Area and beyond. My earliest musical training was on the tablas, North Indian drums, when I was 7; I later switched to violin at age 10, and viola at 13. Outside of classical music styles, I’ve dabbled in pop/rock (guitar), jazz (double bass), and bluegrass (fiddle and mandolin).
Teleformation is the brain child of my love for both new music and early music. While these two genres within classical music are often viewed as complete opposite ends of the spectrum, I was always struck by the similarity of basic approach I took as I regularly performed both new and early music. The music making we do in both contemporary music and historical performance is guided by a sense and a spirit of CREATION: in new music, we are often literally creating a piece for the first time; and in early music, we are trying to re-create the music as it might have been heard during its own time, unsaddled with the weight of modern preconceptions.
I’ve been fascinated with the thought of intertwining these two side-by-side musical threads for a while now, and when I approached Nick, Danny, and GCG several months ago with the early ideas for this project, everything fell into place pretty quickly.
Reimagining old forms and styles is absolutely relevant in today’s music making. I’m a firm believer that one must acknowledge the past in order to embrace the future, and similarly in music I believe we need to be aware of what came before us in order to create new works and new performances. I love the idea reimagining baroque forms and styles because it gives us an idea not only about the older music, but it also provides a view of what the new composer thought and felt about the older music, and shows how that influenced him/her. For instance, in the Mozart Prelude and Fugue for string trio, which is a reworking of J.S. Bach, we get a glimpse into what Mozart learned from his study of Bach, what he liked and what he later would absorb into his own style. While on the surface this type of music making seems to place the importance on the older music, it really says just as much about the new music and new composer as it does about the early forms and styles.
The workshopping process for this concert has been fantastic. I am very pro composers and musicians working together throughout the creative process, and I’ve loved how open, thoughtful, and enthusiastic each of the composers on this project are. I’ve especially enjoyed working on the solo viola commission with Nick; he was tossing ideas at me from the beginning to see what I thought, and was so interested to hear what I had to say about the mechanics of the instrument, the kind of sounds I look for, the way I make music. The end result is a beautiful solo viola piece that I am very personally invested in and am so happy to get to perform. As a performer, you come away from this kind of workshopping process feeling like you’ve had more responsibility for the creation of the piece than you might normally when someone just sets a piece of down in front of you and you play it; and I suspect the composers also feel more involved as well since they are able to tailor the piece to specific performers and watch it grow from their initial conception all the way to a final performance. This kind of workshopping process makes each party feel like a co-creator – its very exciting!
GCG is a great organization to work with! They’re professional but fun, and the best part for me is that they’re just as passionate as I am about the end result being as terrific and high quality of an artistic experience as it possibly can be, for performers, composers, and audiences alike.
The Guerrilla Composers Guild is a fiscally-sponsored affiliate of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the service of chamber music in California.
Please consider making a donation to help us put on our future shows! We are proud to be fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and would love it if you considered donating. If you would like to donate goods or have a special request with a donation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
The show is also supported in part by Lagunitas, and we are so excited to feature their beers for your enjoyment!