ALIAS Fall Concert Sneak Preview: “And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind”

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ALIAS Chamber EnsembleALIAS is preparing for a new concert season with yet another repertoire of innovative programming, starting with the November 12th Fall Concert. The Fall Concert will feature a colorful collage of performances, including “And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind” for flute, viola and harp by Toru Takemitsu. ALIAS harpist Licia Jaskunas gave us a few minutes out of her intense rehearsal schedule to give us a sneak preview.

Tell us about the trio for the flute, viola, and harp that you’ll be performing at the ALIAS Fall Concert on November 12.

“And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind” is a late work of the great Japanese composer, Toru Takemitsu. It was published in 1992, and was likely meant to be a companion piece for the Sonata for flute, viola and harp by Claude Debussy. Along with the Debussy Sonata, it is considered to be one of the masterworks for this instrumentation.

The title comes from a line of a poem by Emily Dickinson. According to Takemitsu, the piece is inspired by the work of Debussy and by the similarities between the wind and the unconscious mind.

What elements do you enjoy the most about this piece?

I enjoy the un-driven nature of this music. Takemitsu purposefully avoided a sense of meter or pulse, and the effect is a calm dreaminess throughout. The writing for the harp is exquisite, as evidenced by the opening of the piece, which draws in and mesmerizes the listener with “colors” that are unique to the harp.

How did you become involved with ALIAS? How long have you been playing with the ensemble?

I’ve been with ALIAS since their beginning more than 10 years ago. Throughout this time, I have performed standard repertoire for harp, as soloist and chamber musician, as well as several lesser known contemporary chamber works, including a duet by Kenji Bunch for violin and harp, recorded by Ali Gooding and me for the “Boiling Point” CD.

I love performing with the amazing musicians of ALIAS and for the enthusiastic listeners that attend the concerts. And I especially love that the concerts benefit important, non-profit causes in Nashville.

ABOUT LICIA: Licia Jaskunas has been principal harpist with the Nashville Symphony since 1998. Previously, she was a member of the New World Symphony and of the Utah Festival Opera Company. She has performed with orchestras of the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, the Spoleto Festival and the Aspen Music Festival. She studied at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and at the Eastman School of Music and has received several top prizes from the American Harp Society.