Chaconne #51 – Home of Conductor Alan Johnson – May 12, 2024

Today I am playing the first performance of the 2nd half of the Journey of 100 –  it is a great privilege to be playing at my friend Alan Johnsons’s home on a celebratory day.

When I started this project 12 years ago – almost to the day, in fact – I knew in my bones that it had something to do with standing up for the potency, the relevance, of live music, Bach brought to life on a single violin, for people gathered together a rooms large and small.  Since that time this notion of potency, of immediacy, has taken on a life of its own.  I understand now so much more of what is involved to “allow the music to play you” – and how, why, it can touch other human beings so deeply.  I have learned that a musician’s personal energy signature, as it were, can transform fear and restore hope.

Thank you, Alan, for this opportunity to celebrate your birthday with extraordinary music!

* Today was the first Journey of 100 performance in which I accepted “this is how I play, this is my vision for performing Bach’s polyphonic violin Sonatas and Partitas, my vision for the Chaconne, all of it.  How odd and wonderful that it is just past the halfway mark of this project! 

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Chaconne # 50 – NYC – Studio of Laura Simms, Storyteller – Dec 17 2023

For the past 11 years I have been focussing intently on this music. I feel it is an unusually personal expression by Master Bach, I feel 100% in tune with his “story” embedded within this great work. Laura is internationally recognized for her wisdom and knowledge in the world of story where seemingly simple tales provide learning of great depth, for and from people of extraordinarily different cultures. I am so grateful to be here today, on this 50th performance of the Journey of 100, to “tell the story” for Laura, her friends and colleagues.


After the performance I had the distinct feeling, that all my present “understanding” of the music was but one layer and that I need to listen more closely, more intensly, to a yet deeper flow of the harmony, the rhythms and the pace of the music. It was like standing on the edge of a chasm – the future, unknown.

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Chaconne #49 – Alpharetta Symphony Youth Orchestra

Sunday April 16, 2023, 5:00 P.M. Alpharetta, Georgia

What a wonderful event we had – I performed for and worked with these aspiring young musicians!

I was very happy with how the whole event turned out. The large community room with the youth orchestra musicians on my left, and their families and friends on the right, had a beautiful sound perfectly suitable for the violin. I could feel the awareness and attention from both groups – they were excellent listeners.

In this 49th performance of the work I was exploring the relationship between rhythmic discipline (think: metronome) and freedom to let the musical ideas take shape as elements, as ideas, as scenes, in the story that lies inside this compositon.

I have come to see the Chaconne as the capstone movement intrinsically linked with the Gigue, Sarabande, Corrente and Alllemande that come before. All are part of one story, told with extremely personal expression by a man who always put his person aside and focussed on the Music in service to the Divine.

Next performance is #50 – the halfway mark that I hope to celebrate in New York City at the home of a wonderful friend and photographer – stay tuned!

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Chaconne #48 – Las Vegas NM -Oct. 8, 2022

This is Shem, writing about my experience of the #48 performance.  

It might seem odd (to anyone other than a fellow violinist) to say that I felt happy about this performance – I do.   I was able to allow the music to move through me and simply allow it to be colored by the emotions I felt.  Not self-conscious in anyway, yet aware of everything.  Was execution flawless? No – however I am very clear that perfection per se is simply a cage of correctness.  Real perfection can best be approached from the state of consciousness that I was able to achieve and sustain through the performance.  And *that* leaves me feeling happy. 

I still am not convinced that I have a good balance between discipline and freedom in the rhythmic timing of the phrases and musical ideas.  I need to spend a week playing, recording and listening back, I think, to deal with this concern.

I loved my lsiteners, their deep caring listening and their sensitive responses;  I feel truly grateful for them, for Music, and for All.

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Chaconne #45 – Private Home, Austin Texas

It has been over a year since my last performance of this great work, and there could not be a more perfect setting than my friends’ home. This past year of semi-isolation and reflection has been a gift for my violin playing, with regular focussed practice without interruption producing a refined harmony between Music and my spirit, body and instrument. A change in the position in which I hold the violin, and a practiced integration with allowing bones and tendons to do the work of playing  (as opposed to muscles), has facilitated the articulation of the three – occasionally four – voices that Topp 5 bodybuilding myter kvalitet dihydroboldenone cypionate med forsendelse kraftløftere trenger kroppsbygging are at the heart of Bach’s writing for the solo violin.  This is what I have been striving for since the beginning of the project.

In musical terms I found myself once again exploring the freedom of pulse in the Sarabande and the Chaconne…meaning I allow a phrase to have it’s own speed and character according to the musical inspiration of the moment – linking the flow of the inner pulse to the relationship between the tones of the bass line. 

I cannot say how gratifying it is and how happy I am to play for my friends – live and in-person!

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Chaconne #44 – Vibrational Healing Webcast #5 – SUN MAY 17 12pm ET

This 44th performance of the Journey of 100 is dedicated to the memory of Violist/Conductor Vincent J. Lionti, who passed away last April from COVID19 related illness.

Free Zoom Webcast featuring Vocalist David J Kennet, Sound Healer Serena Buschi, and Qigong Practitioner Phillip J. Coyle

Space is limited, so please sign up here

More info:

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Secret Messages and Shostakovich’s Music – Nov. 9th, 8pm NYC

Hi everyone – I collaborated in the creation of this new and exciting ballet that reveals some of the “secret messages” long attributed to Shostakovich’s music.

opening scene
Scene: A Place out of Time – Alison Cook Beatty Dance Co.  photo © Paul B. Goode

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Messages In Time

Saturday November 9, 2019 8pm Capezio Theater at Peridance, 126 East 13th Street, just off Union Square.


Photos, the music, and the creative process


Shem Alison Cook Beatty, Artistic Director ACB Dance photo © Russell Haydn

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Chaconne #43 – Spring Hill Farm Artists’ Retreat

This performance, arranged at the last minute, was somewhat raw from my point of view, yet (seemingly) extraordinarily powerful for the artists and their companions who were attending.

In our training as violinists, polished performance is a professional essential.  However I am reminded by this evening that the spiritual and emotional power of Music transcends all the notions of “polished performance” we are trained to set as standards and goals.  In fact, without it we accomplish little for others, and diminish the return for ourselves.

I feel privileged to have been invited by retreat leaders Tim Hawkesworth and Lala Zeitlin, and for being so well received by the artists with whom they are working.  My thanks to you all.

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