LOCK & KEY VOL II is the second presentation of five composers drawing from the well of inspiration – in highly heterogeneous ways and from a plethora of sources, yet all united by a common theme: the profound depths of the human experience. The pieces all revel exuberantly: in the natural beauty of Iceland, the nostalgia evoked by a distantly familiar melody, the random augury of a deck of tarot cards, late 19th Century anthems adapted for woodwind quintet, or the kinetic energy of musical gestures. Confidently asserting that all facets and walks of life can be a source of music if you listen closely enough, LOCK & KEY VOL II includes brand-new chamber works by Carol Barnett based on the tunes of Shaker hymns.
Today, Carol is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to discover her most unusual concert tour…
Who was your first favorite artist(s) growing up?
My first favorite artist was Van Cliburn. He had just wowed the classical world by winning the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition. We bought the LP and listened to it hundreds of times.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
Thanks to the fact that my father was a piano teacher with a home studio, I always knew I wanted to be some sort of musician. I gradually focused primarily on composition, although I have always practiced piano and played flute and piccolo in community orchestras and the pit orchestra of a local theater until a few years ago.
What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?
The most unusual set of performances I’ve been involved in were a set of concerts by the University of Minnesota Concert Band Ensemble when we toured the Soviet Union for seven weeks in the spring of 1969.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Guilty pleasure: reading a whole book of light fiction in one sitting.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I like the actual writing of music here at home, with my familiar piano and reference materials, but I would love to be able to travel to the actual locations connected with the subjects/texts of my writing projects.
If you could instantly have expertise performing one instrument, what instrument would that be?
I would love to be really proficient on the doumbek.
What does this piece mean to you personally, and is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to listeners?
The performance by Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava woodwind quintet of the slow movement of my Shaker Suite: Canterbury was especially lovely. In this work I wanted to communicate the joy of playing accessible music as part of a small ensemble. I am delighted to be included on this album – it will help me get the word out to more woodwind players about my quintet.