HELLO STAGE BLOG

Why is a Bach Cello Suite like a Christo project?

This past weekend I was lucky enough to experience Christo’s Floating Piers installation with the HELLO STAGE team! The Floating Piers is a temporary site-specific work in Italy’s Lake Iseo that uses 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes covered by 100,00 meters of sparkling saffron-colored fabric to connect two islands to the mainland. They say this in every article but it really feels like walking on water!
Who was there?
There were a lot of people! In the first 5 days the exhibit brought 270,00 visitors to Lake Iseo. There were a few foreign tongues but the people were overwhelmingly Italian. I only heard one pair of women speaking English and they were both sporting Lululemon tops; it definitely brought me back to L.A. for a second.

What was the vibe?
People were tanning on the piers, sipping on granita, with their dogs and walking around with friends taking selfies. At one point I looked up after hearing some cheering to see Christo himself on a big boat smiling and waving towards everyone on the pier. The whole thing felt both surreal and natural at the same time.

Why is a Bach Cello Suite like a Christo project?
As a musician, I do my best to relate everything in my life to music. While sitting on the pier gently rocking overlooking the beautiful Lake Iseo and hearing Italians chatting I asked myself how music can be more like this. That’s when I realized that the Floating Piers is much more similar to music than it is to viewing a Monet.
I can take pictures of the Floating Piers project, describe it and remember it but like music it is ephemeral. The specific voices that you hear, swans that you see, lack of people, weather, waves and air temperature all are part of the piece and cannot be controlled or repeated. Music is the same way. Playing a Bach Cello Suite by yourself in a field is different than playing the same music in a cathedral full of people. Repeating a musical experience is impossible because of time. Even if you are alone in a recording studio with endless takes to get the same result, time has passed and that changes something.

How can this idea enhance my playing?
It’s important as a performer to remember this concept because it makes each time that you play something special and different in some way. This mindset creates an awareness of your surroundings, the time of day, the people around you or your solitude and how you’re feeling in that moment. Noticing these subtle things and viewing each time that you play as a new experience will keep your music fresh and interesting to you and your audience.

To learn more about The Floating Piers visit www.thefloatingpiers.com


Los-Angeles native Anna Heflin is a classical violist who is passionate about contemporary music. Anna holds a Bachelor of Music and a minor in art history from UCSB, where she studied with Helen Callus and graduated with honors. She is currently studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she is pursuing her Masters of Music. At SFCM she is studying with Jodi Levitz while working with MaryClare Brzytwa and David Garner. Anna has a passion for contemporary music and composes works for herself in addition to premiering works. She enjoys incorporating electronics into her compositions and has experience working with Max/MSP and Ableton Live. This summer she is attending New Music On The Point and interning for HELLO STAGE in Vienna! When she’s not playing music you can find her drinking coffee, doing yoga or exploring.
Author: Anna Heflin
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