In Mozart’s Music of Friends, you explore social interplay as a metaphor for interaction among the players within a chamber ensemble. What led you to this topic?
During my undergrad at Juilliard, I was playing viola in a quartet, and our coach used the most wonderful interpretations and imagery. Say, one violin begins by singing a sweet melody, when the other violin enters in a love duet. The viola keeps trying to “butt in” and take the conversation in a more serious direction, but the cello just can’t be bothered by the whole exchange.
I’ve always been struck how intuitive such anthropomorphic language is to many performers — but that it’s not usually something a musical scholar would write. This book gave me a way to bring the scholarly and performance perspectives together. By examining the historical and theoretical underpinnings of performers’ experiences of this repertoire, I’ve united two parts of my musical life.