Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

Working with the Violist of NeoQuartet – Composer’s Perspective

Michał Markiewicz ViolaIs it me or are all viola players naturally quiet and reserved? Michał approached the music in a very methodical and collaborative way making sure to give the preference to the violins and the cello. As a composer, I don’t like to keep the viola in the background at all times and often give it soloistic passages. At first Michał was careful not to overplay these sections, but during the recording I continued to ask him to come closer to the foreground.

When we were working on the Expletivo (the third Monologue), I told him to stop playing in a polite manner and play it rudely, with an attitude. He played his solo in such a fun and gutsy way that the other players immediately picked up his energy and the whole group produced the best take of the piece. I looked at the sound engineer and our jaws dropped at the same time. We knew we had a keeper.

Fun fact about Michał: Michał originally studied violin and did not switch to viola until he received a master’s degree in music performance. He then continued his post-graduate studies on a new instrument. The brightness of violin did not satisfy him and the sound palette of the viola was more to his liking.


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