Saturday, March 17, 2018

Why I Live Here - Intimate Evenings With Incredible People: Dainis Medjaniks [Corrected]

Last night we heard a violin come alive - coaxed by a very talented violinist, music of great composers, and a room in someone's house that gave the notes space to fly and dance in the air and in our heads.

Although i was close enough to see the violinist's expressions as he played, I spent much of the concert with my eyes closed entranced by the intricate ballet of sounds that surrounded me.  The violin truly showed its soul, tempted by the perfect set of conditions.

The Back Story

Anchorage is a small town, really.  About 300,000 people.  And Alaska is a state most everyone wants to visit, even if it's only to say "I've been to all 50 states."  So lots of brilliant and talented people come here and often they perform or give talks or meet with the public.  So over the 40 years I've lived here I've had the chance to meet with people I never would have met, say, if I had stayed in Los Angeles.

Last night was one of those occasions. A friend invited us to a concert by young Latvian violinist.  The one page program we got last night included the pieces he was going to play on one side and a biography of accomplishments of Medjaniks in his short career.

When the emailed invitation came a couple of weeks ago saying that if we wanted to come, we should reserve soon, seats were very limited.  It sounded like the perfect Anchorage concert - an international musician in a small intimate session.  The contribution was modest and all would go to the artist.  AND we would be back in town.  Couldn't pass it up.

This picture is posed, after the concert.  Even if I had my small camera with me - I left it in LA and it's supposed to be coming home courtesy of the US postal service - this was not the night to intrude.   I did borrow my wife's phone to get these pictures before and after he played.

This was a night to bathe in the magic vibrations that flowed from Dainis' violin, not to be distracted by a camera.  An audio night, not a visual night (though the setting was beautiful.)  The evening's program includes this note about the violin:
"Sebastian Klozt of Mittenwald, Germany made the violin Dainis plays in 1782.  The violin from the Foundation of Lower Saxony is on loan to him."
If you aren't the calculating type, it was born six years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, when George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin  were fighting for the United States' independence.  Before Napoleon ruled France.  It's aged very well.

[CORRECTION - March 20, 2018:  This is a great story, but I learned a couple of days later, it was old information.  Dainis had been lent that old violin for several years, but the time was up and the violin he had with him here was a new one - made by the mother of the cellist in a group he plays with.  That one is on loan too.]

And I knew that nothing I could do would come close to capturing the experience, but I did find this video online of Dainis in 2015.

Dainis Medjaniks - Preliminary Round 1 from JosephJoachimTV on Vimeo.

As is the custom in Anchorage, guests left their shoes at the door, including Dainis.  I asked him if this was the first time he performed before an audience in his socks, and he smiled and said, "Yes."

Thank you to the host whose home was perfect for this concert and whose hospitality is greatly appreciated.

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