Eko Nova Blends a Dynamic Musical Range

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February 25th, 2016

Omaha, NE — Working to blend music of new and old.

The members of Eko Nova. From Left: Paul Ledwon (cello), Thomas Kluge (viola), Dani Meier (bass), and Elizabeth Furuta (violin)

The members of Eko Nova. From Left: Paul Ledwon (cello), Thomas Kluge (viola), Dani Meier (bass), and Elizabeth Furuta (violin)

Fiddle N Blues, the third concert of the Eko Nova series at Kaneko is blending the worlds of folk and classical music in very unique ways. It’s a performance centered around the works of violin and fiddle virtuoso, Mark O’Connor.

Omaha Symphony and Lincoln Symphony bassist Dani Meier spoke about the pieces featured on this dynamic groups’ upcoming performance and how they work on blending these styles.

“I know that without my classical training I would find pieces like ‘Blackberry Mull’ very difficult because you have to have a really solid grip on technique to play Mark O’Connor,” Meier said. “Double stops everywhere, so you are holding down one note while you have this flowing line on top of the other, and so they have to have a really good grip on their instrument just to be able to do that effectively. That is the neat thing about fiddle players, is they may not be playing Beethoven, Mahler, or Shostakovich, but they have this incredible technique. They really know how to get the color out of their instrument and really make it sing. So, I think all of us are depending on the technical ability we’ve built up over the years of being instrumentalists so we can actually play this music the way it’s supposed to be.

There’s a new partnership between the Omaha Chamber Music Society and Kaneko that is branching out by continuing to showcase and explore ‘new’ music.

“You say the words new music and you have two reactions, you either run screaming for the hill, or you run screaming towards it,” she said. “Kaneko really stepped up. They basically said, ‘We’d love to do this partnership with you, let’s use our space, let’s connect it to the exhibits we have and try to bring in as many people as we possibly can.’ They opened their doors to us and made it really easy. So, it’s kind of a win-win. We get to explore music that we don’t normally play. OCMS hasn’t had a new program but they’ve been trying to do one so now the chamber musicians get to branch out.”

Meier spoke passionately about what this music can do for our community of listeners.

“I want audiences to hear the words ‘new music’ and not be scared,” she said. “I want them to understand that when they see a program like ours say, ‘Oh, I know this, oh this is so familiar’. Especially when they hear folk music, that is comforting, that goes way, way back on a really base level when we hear that. It’s like hearing Appalachian Spring by Copland, you hear that and you are like, ‘Oh, that’s where I come from’. It’s such a down to earth thing and this whole concert is a very down to earth thing. It’s going back to before we got fancy, this is where it all kind of began, when you first learn Suzuki, those are folk tunes. So new music, in this sense, isn’t really new at all.”

The performance features members of the Omaha Symphony; Elizabeth Furtura, Thomas Kluge, Paul Ledwon, and Dani Meier. Eko Nova’s Fiddle N Blues is Monday February, 29th at 7pm at Kaneko. Ticket information can be found at thekaneko.org or by logging on to chambermusicomaha.org.

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