Journey of 100

If one were to choose one single work that stands out among the rich repertoire for Solo Violin, generation after generation, it could well be the Chaconne by J.S. Bach.  It is a piece that suggests endless depth and profundity.

I am setting out on a journey of discovery: I want to learn how my understanding of this work will develop through the process of performing it 100 times in a row.  These performances will be in normal public venues (the first was at Lincoln Center in May 2012) but also they will be for small groups of interested listeners, colleagues and friends with whom I can explore deeper levels of communication and connectivity. [read more]

Chaconne #35 – 7:00pm 2/24/17 Opus Cafe

The third and final Journey of 100 performance sponsored by Hamilton College

2 Comments

  1. Emily
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The quite, intimate setting of the cafe at night as well as the small group of people closely gathered made for a somewhat solemn and emotional experience. People were mostly lost in their own minds and feelings but the experience overall was incredible. I’d never heard a solo violin played in such a small and comfortable setting before and the experience is not one I’d forget.

  2. nesecan balkan
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Dear Shem,

    I attended Journey of 100 performance # 33 and enjoyed it very much. Thank you!! I preferred to close my eyes as I listened to your gorgeous playing so nothing could come between the sound and my mind. It is such an exquisite experience to be so close by to live playing in that relatively small space. However, I did not want to be distracted by the presence of people and things. I imagined that you were playing on a high cliff looking over the sea and that you just had the blue sky and the sea behind you. The music of Bach carried me over the waves.

    I also attended your evening concert with Sar-Shalom and the beautiful images in the background. That was also a most fantastic experience… I found that during first part of the concert where there were no images, my mind felt as if it was broadening, enlarging as I listened to you my eyes closed. I could only concentrate on the way notes flowed. However, in the second part, when I looked at the images, it seemed as though the music was describing the shapes in these photos. I could not concentrate solely on music but used music to think about what I was seeing.

    Many thanks for coming to Hamilton and giving yourself thoroughly to us to present your incredible sounds. Thanks to Sar-Shalom and Peter as well…


Chaconne #34 – 3:30pm 2/24/17 Kirkland Public Library

55 1/2 College St, Clinton, NY 13323    (315) 853-2038
The second of three Journey of 100 performances sponsored by Hamilton College


Chaconne #33 – 12 Noon 2/24/17 Science Center Atrium

The first of three Journey of 100 events at Hamilton College, Clinton NY 13323

 

One Comment

  1. Robin Kinnel
    Posted February 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    What a terrific experience. The first bars of the Chaconne brought a tear or two of emotion, then I settled into the delight of the moment. It felt like being at a German outdoor cafe for lunch–the only thing missing was the beer. But the juxtaposition of beautiful music and the more usual social traffic of lunch made such a connection for me. I wish that we had opportunities to experience such occasions more here.

    I had not heard solo violin played in such an intimate setting before and was delighted to experience the range of sonority, of the forte and piano, and of the bowing–things one doesn’t hear in the orchestra. Thanks for the occasion and the lesson, and good luck with the project.


Chaconne #32 – The Explorers Club, NYC Mon Feb 13

https://explorers.org/events/detail/public_lecture_series_with_shem_guibbory_and_dorit_donoviel

 

This performance in my series Journey of 100 is part of an amazing evening: a program I am sharing with my niece Dr. Dorit Donoviel,  one of the chief scientists in charge of the medical program for NASA astronauts. We are calling it  For the Love of Music and Space.

RESERVATIONS 212.628.8383 or email us at reservations@explorers.org

Date: Monday, February 13th  Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Explorers Club – 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $10 Guest Ticket Price: $25 Student Ticket Price: $5 with a valid academic ID

3 Comments

  1. sgwp_a1
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    What a great night – a packed house once again at the Explorer’s Club. Dorit is so expert at speaking to lay audiences without dumbing down the scientific and medical content! Our idea played out well for our audience: fact is that the isolation astronauts experience during extended time in outer space is frequently reduced by listening to music, or taking their own musical instrument with them. Perfect parallels: a long Journey into Outer Space, my lengthy Journey of 100 Bach Chaconne performances – both take individuals deeper into their own Inner Space.

    I hope all the people who planned to write their comments will remember and share them with you here!

  2. Serafima Dashevskaya
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Dear Shem,
    This was my third time when I joined you in your Journey of 100. Every time my experience is a little different, but it is always that I can feel my own Inner Space (as you stated) listening to Bach. Chaconne for me is very personal and I find solace during your masterful performance.
    Dorit’s presentation was so engaging and interesting and the idea of connecting science and music at the same event was great.
    Thank you very much and I looking forward to joining you at your Journey in the future.

    Serafima

  3. christopher
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    This was such a wonderful event. I found the juxtaposition of human exploration of deep space with the kind of deep inner exploration that music can provide to be a profound experience. This was my first, but hopefully not my last, time seeing the performance of Chaconne journey of 100 and it took me through quite a spectrum of emotional reaction. At one moment watching the performance it brought me to a place of almost unease and sadness only to be swept along to a feeling of pervasive joy. The experience of listening to this beautiful music performed masterfully seems to open up a channel of connection, to cut off the stream of thought and plunge you deep into an inner space where seemingly only you can go. In the context of Shem’s interpretation of the piece, which he touched on briefly before the performance, and being in a room of people all taking that plunge into the inner space of connection, combined with Dr. Dorit Donoviel’s wonderfully informative presentation of outer exploration, it made for a very profound and intellectually stimulating night. Thank you Shem and Dorit and thank you all who attended!


Chaconne #31 – January 23 10:30am – Tarrytown NY

at the JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown, NY just next to Hyatt Doubletree.

371 S. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591, phone (914) 366-7898

Admission $5

http://shamesjcc.org/events/2017/01/23/events/j.s.-bach-journey-of-100-lecture-performance/

 

4 Comments

  1. sgwp_a1
    Posted January 28, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    JOURNEY of 100 #31 – JCC on Hudson January 23, 2017

    Shem,
    I was transfixed by your performance today at JCC. Aside from exposure to the greatness of Master Bach, to experience your interpretation in such a small venue allowed for a personal connection with the music which is indescribable. As I allowed the music to come into me, without boundary, without guard, the experience was almost shattering. I emerged drained.

    As to the message Bach intended (or not) to transmit, to me, the subject of this piece is about life (fully-lived) versus death (nothingness, the end). The emotional contrast Bach expresses veers from frivolity in pizzicato strains to morbid, dying embers in minor base tones. Listening to you play this extremely biographically-revealing piece by the master allows us a doorway into existential crisis should we allow ourselves to submit to the glory of the work.

    I cannot say enough about your skill and generosity in sharing your playing of this very personal work. The mystery to me is how you were ever able to memorize it all. I am in your debt for sharing this experience with me. I do hope to hear you again and look forward perhaps to your rendition of the sonatas.

    As an aside, since the argument has been made that Bach was a zealously religious composer, I wonder if you’ve seen the scholarly article in the Jan. 2nd article of The New Yorker, about Bach’s unruly obsession with God titled Holy Dread. The author makes a strong case for Bach’s piety expressed in his St. John Passion. Alex Cross explores music theory in great detail and text, “Herr, unser Herrscher” to validate his case of the religious Bach, immersed in the climate of the day. How amazing for you to allow us to experience, directly, the man, the personal Bach without the need for words or dogma.

    Thank you so much!

  2. sgwp_a1
    Posted January 28, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Vivian, thank you so much for your comments. As this was a lecture and a performance, this was the first time I shared my thoughts as to Bach’s (possible) personal motivation in writing the piece. Regardless as to whether these ideas are so or not, you, me and many previous listeners all share the same experience: as you say, of his depiction of struggle in life, the loss of death, and, as one of our fellow listeners remarked, his expression of Divine Grace amidst it all.

    And thank you ten-fold for your appreciation of Bach’s music as separate and distinct from superficial, dry analysis, and dogma. sg

  3. Linda Paver
    Posted January 31, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Reflections: Feeling and hearing the intensity of the Chaconne in an intimate setting was a quieting experience. The integration of Shem Guibbory’s performance, the stillness of the audience, as if holding its breath, and the vibrations of the violin so close- I almost didn’t realize it happened till it was over, so complete was my involvement. It’s rare to have this kind of experience. Shem – Thank you for providing us with your passion and art. Linda

  4. VIVIAN PRONIN
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Shem,
    I wanted to add a comment related to your lecture at JCC in Tarrytown. You mentioned that you purchased your violin from David Segal. My daughter, who is now an adult studied violin with Anna Pellekh at Hoff Barthelson for many years and we purchased an “old” violin from David Segal as well. I helped her select it. It has rich, dark tones which I so appreciate in violin sounds. Interesting paths that cross.

    Vivian