Gretna Music’s season opens Sunday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse when Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux and Grammy-nominated bandoneonist JP Jofre join violinist Francisco Fullana for an evening of Argentine tangos, Spanish dances, and classical favorites.
Jason and JP were kind enough to answer our 5 Questions to help you (and us) get to know them better before their visit. Here are their responses.
5 Questions with Jason Vieaux & JP Jofre
1. How would you describe your upcoming Gretna Music concert for someone who’s never seen or heard you before?
Jason: Well I’m part of an ensemble on this particular engagement, with my friend Francisco Fullana and a new (for me) collaborator in Mr. Jofre, who is excellent! I would pitch it to a stranger as “exciting, colorful, passionate.”
JP: Innovative, soulful and inspiring.
2. What is the most unique or memorable place at which you’ve performed?
Jason: Ahmedabad, India: it was the first time I heard a Muslim call to prayer in the early morning (I was 21 and an artistic ambassador of the US to Southeast Asia at the time). The concert was amplified and outdoors, with a gigantic curtain behind me moving in the hot evening air. I played my transcription of Keith Jarrett’s “Americana,” as the State Department wanted me to program American music as much as possible. I also programmed David Leisner’s music. At that time, I was listening a lot to improvised piano and all things improvised and avant-garde, so I wanted to get that in the show.
JP: From Carnegie Hall to a public school and even a High Security Prison where I performed as part of an outreach music program, every place is special as long as the audience connect with the music.
3. If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Jason: Pat Metheny … oh wait I already collaborated with him. (Just kidding around) Seriously though, he would have been high on my list of answers, had that not happened.
Leonard Bernstein or Pierre Boulez. Very different musical predilections, but they both had terrific rhythm sense, among so many other things, and were great interpreters of “what’s on the page.” Of course Bach, only because you asked the question. Joni Mitchell. Sarah Vaughn. Prince would be fun, because he was such a natural. Miles Davis and John Lennon could be interesting and a hoot, only because (apparently) they explained what they wanted less in musical terms, and more in amorphous descriptive terms, and very scant. That would be fun to try and see if I succeeded or failed with them. Sorry that was 8 (or 9).
JP: Jacqueline du Pre, she had such beautiful sound on the cello. It would be a dream to have had her record my double concerto for cello and bandoneon.
4. What’s on your playlist when you listen to music?
Jason: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert. Any new music of any background that people I trust say is “really good” and such. Or music I’m learning. I still like my standbys in “non-classical” music that many know I like (Beatles, Steely Dan, Miles, Joni, etc.) but I don’t listen to them much anymore, because it feels too much like a nostalgia revue to me now. I just enjoy live jazz and classical performance in the moment, but only when it’s played well. Rock and pop has become more boring for me to listen to due to Pro-Tools and such “straightening” for the marketplace. I miss when you could hear the rhythm section and how the band plays to the drums and bass. The Strokes were probably the last rock band I was passionate about. Live jazz is the best chamber music sometimes, especially in the best jazz towns like NYC, SF, etc.
JP: Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Metallica, Piazzolla and Thom York.
5. The Jigger Shop ice cream shop is a Mt. Gretna institution. What ice cream treat would you order from their menu?
Jason: Cookies and Cream, since C&C is now kind of considered a “standard” variety these days. That’s a go-to. I’m not a big sweets guy, but ice cream is a big weakness for sure. We have a great local chain here in Lakewood, Mitchell’s … terrific stuff.
JP: Peach Melba.
Come early to get your own favorite Jigger Shop treat, and to catch our First Listen artists, cellists Victoria Mitchell and James Yan, at 6:45 p.m. First Listen is a series of free 20-minute mini-concerts by talented local student musicians, giving them a chance to “open” for our professional artists.
By the way, JP shared a special video message for the Gretna Music audience. Watch it below.