Ah-Ha Insights and Stories Told Lovingly

Posted by Sharyn Lonsdale on 20th June 2015

Kukuki Velarde created a delicate whimsical, ode to her little girl Vida. Line drawings on paper, cut out and layered in three dimensions told the beautifully crafted, artfully re‐imagined story of how her little daughter came to be. A fairy baring an egg metaphorically gave a gift to Kukuli that started Vida’s life.

This work intended for a children’s book was a departure from her critically acclaimed ceramic work expressing the struggles of the indigenous people of Peru.

June is family residency month. Hermitage babysitters allow artist‐parents the freedom to create at an intense pace between tranquil family playtimes on the beach.

Oscar Bettison, here with his sweet baby daughter Paloma, came to write a commission for an Amsterdam ensemble.

His warm comfortable British accent seemed at home in the Hermitage living room when we gathered in the house to chat after his composer‐talk was rained out on the beach. A conversation evolved about his way of composing music.

He told us he liked to be challenged, like when a pianist/percussionist asked him to write a solo piece. Together they had to invent ways the pianist could play percussion with his feet while still manning the keyboard.

He wrote a piece with the violin strings all tuned to D (when usually the four strings are tuned to GDAE). We watched a young virtuoso play the piece on youtube. If many of us had heard this piece on a car radio, we might have changed the channel, but after learning its origin, appreciating the difficulty and understanding the pattern, listeners were fascinated.

Oscar doesn’t go with the first idea he has for a piece. He gets more ideas, then, if the first one is still exciting, he goes with it. A writer agreed she works the same way. An artist later chimed in that Oscar’s work is like the collage she makes. Everyone heard something in his music to relate and memorable ah‐ha discourse.

Baby Paloma’s father had sat on the old wooden Hermitage floor helping her learn her first words in the morning. That evening in the same spot Englewood’s literati (decades older than Paloma) still with curious, open minds, learned a new language too, the language of 21st century musical composition.

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