Antonio Lysy, Holidays with Bach
Cellist Antonio Lysy’s upcoming show is generating a lot of buzz with the classical music set. Having recently played to a sold out house for several performances of a production at The Broad Stage in Los Angeles, Lysy will be undertaking the extraordinary feat of performing Johannes Sebastian Bach’s entire collection of solo suites for cello in a single show. In what promises to be a unique musical experience being performed at the very same venue, the rarely performed full set of all six suites, the December 20th show, Holidays with Bach, is a hot ticket.
Lysy’s previous and critically acclaimed show, Te Amo Argentina, engaged the audience in a visually passionate journey through Argentina, celebrating its diverse culture and music. Te Amo also featured music written expressly for the internationally celebrated cellist by well-known Argentine film composer and pianist, Lalo Schifrin. The show went on to become one of the few Cello centered recordings to ever win a Latin Grammy. That is a milestone of which his late father, renowned violinist, Argentina native, and personal inspiration, Alberto Lysy, surely would have been proud.
In a similar concept, Holidays with Bach will enhance Bach’s compositions with multimedia enhancements that further engage the audience to experience and connect more with the music. The concept comes from answering the question, “Where do you want to be when you hear this music? Where do I feel it should be played,” Lysy explained. Keeping the focus on the music, Lysy says the background projections “are simply ornaments, complimentary, and not obtrusive… bringing the audience closer to the music.” The Broad is described by Lysy as one of his absolute favorite venues to perform in citing the perfect intimacy and “balance of size and sound.”
It is a challenge to not only perform the string of suites (with only one intermission), but also evoke the audiences’ emotion. That’s the goal. “It’s like a Grand Slam in Tennis,” the cellist says of the upcoming feat. Recognizing the intensity of this accomplishment, Lysy is readying himself like a champion with a sports psychology coach and implementing techniques as applied to musical training. There is a mental preparation not unlike one who prepares for a marathon. “It is strenuous,” the cellist asserts of the physicality side of it. The coach is basing his training on his dissertation which is instrumental in helping Lysy get into good ‘musical’ shape. The coach is a recent graduate of UCLA, where Lysy also teaches and helped develop the University’s official Department of Music thanks to a generous grant from the Herb Alpert Foundation.
UCLA Professor by day and internationally celebrated cellist by night, the Italian born Lysy seems have a clear goal for the accessibility of classical music both in performing it and a student’s understanding of it. And balance plays a key role in doing so. Soon after graduating and putting his musical talents to use professionally, he also realized his gift for teaching while in Toronto, Canada. Lysy began to understand how each provides “…unique opportunities to nurture. They both motivate and inspire in tandem,” he explains. “I love both and can’t do without either.” Since seizing the opportunities to teach as well as perform in L.A., he, his wife, and their three children have found a “crescendo of welcoming in Los Angeles.”
One of Professor Lysy’s philosophies in teaching and performing is to take a “new perspective” in playing and comprehending classical music. “You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing,” he tells his UCLA students. “I encourage students to find talent in their own uniqueness,” he reveals. One could easily see that with Holidays with Bach, Lysy also teaches by example in applying that philosophy and giving a sensory experience to the audience, to “inspire them in a whole new way. We need that.”