Getting to know the artists behind “Hard Boiled Quintets”

Published: March 23, 2018

Originally Published By: la voce italiana

On Saturday, March 23, world class musicians Rocco Parisi and the Axiom Quartet will come together at the ICCC to share the music of Wolfgang Mozart and Dr. Arthur Gottschalk.

LVI: Tell us about how you got started in music.

Arthur Gottschalk (AG): I’m a composer by education and by trade. I teach at Rice University where the bulk of my academic career has been sustained. I’ve also worked in the commercial music field as a studio musician, producer and arranger for major music labels in all music styles. These days I devote myself to chamber and orchestral music.

Rocco Parisi (RP): I began to study music after secondary school. In my family, nobody was a musician. But ever since I was a little kid, I liked to listen to classical music on the radio and my passion grew. When I was a teenager, I played in the local music group of my city. After it, I studied music regularly at the conservatory, achieving my master’s degree.

Patrick Moore (PM): The Axiom Quartet has been around for five years. We wanted to be able to perform at the highest artistic level we could. As a string quartet, we get to choose our repertoire and how we rehearse it. We’ve played all over the city of

Houston, spreading chamber music to places that don’t have access to it normally.

LVI: What do you enjoy most about working with music?

RP: Music is a universal language. For me, playing is like speaking about my life and experiences. I am very lucky because I can share these moments with other musicians like me around the world.

PM: Quartets are very traditional, but at a certain point we realized mixing in music that people were more familiar with is a great way to introduce people to what the voice of a string quartet can sound like. In our programs here in Houston, we’ll often put

Monteverdi next to Michael Jackson, Beethoven next to David Bowie. To us, good music is good music.

AG: I enjoy composing music because it’s my primary way of expressing myself. I don’t perform anymore, but I do get to work with amazing virtuosi such as Rocco Parisi.

LVI: So why share these pieces in Houston and specifically at the ICCC?

PM: Getting to hear Gottschalk’s piece live is a delight on its own. This is an incredibly rare collaboration because we live in opposite parts of the world. At the ICCC you’ll get to experience a true chamber music format, where you’re really close to the artists. You’ll be sitting right next to us.

RP: I’m excited to be recording and playing a concert with the Axiom Quartet and sharing my experiences. It is a great honor to

be playing alongside them and sharing this music at the ICCC. Each country has its heritage, and I am proud to be Italian.

AG: These are going to be world class musicians performing in the hall there at the Milford House. Rocco in particular is excited to be playing for people that he has some link to, to Italians, Italian-Americans and admirers of Italian culture in Houston.

LVI: Why is it important to support the arts and culture?

RP: Culture is the people’s soul. To support it means to preserve it. If for various reasons we have problems to preserve it, the decadence of our county is inevitable. Culture is inside our life.

PM: One cannot ignore that education and the arts seem to have a consistent track record of producing people that have very successful careers. Our daily lives are not terribly interesting and can fall into ruts. Art has a way of allowing us to escape routine.

AG: In the middle of World War II, when Winston Churchill was prime minister and he was asked to cut funding for the arts, he responded: “Well then what are we fighting for?” And I think that’s the best response one could possibly give. When art is neglected because it’s not commercial enough, we’re ignoring what constitutes our collective humanity.

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