“The Famous People” – Re-Compositions of 5 Dvořák “Slavonic Dances”
Multi-GRAMMY nominated violinist/composer Curtis Stewart aims to translate stories of self determination to the concert stage – tearing down the facade of “Classical Violinist,” Curtis is in constant pursuit of his musical authenticity – treating art as a battery for realizing citizenship.
As a a soloist, Curtis has been presented by Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Carnegie Hall, and the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, among many others. He has been commissioned for solo, orchestral and chamber works by the Virginia Symphony, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Eastman Cello Institute, Sybsrite5, curators of the New York Festival of Song, and Carnegie Hall: Play/USA.
An avid teacher, Curtis teaches Chamber Music and “Cultural Equity and Performance Practice” at the Juilliard School; directs the Contemporary Chamber Music program at the Perlman Music Program; served on the Board of Concert Artist Guild; and conducted several orchestras, Opera pit, and all levels of music theory at the Laguardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts for ten years in New York City. Curtis graduated magna cum laude from the Eastman School of Music with a BA of Mathematics from the University of Rochester.
Stewart discusses his inspiration for his “Re-Imagined” Slavonic Dances below:
“In preparing for the arrangements of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, I was looking up the etymology of the word “slavonic” – and several articles suggest that it comes from a language of people from an area of eastern Europe where many were sold into slavery – also, “slav” is a denotation of fame or worth – families would add bori-slav or stani-slav to their names to denote fame.
I was drawn to this approach of dealing with a history of slavery within one’s family, the celebration of the dances of those peoples in Dvorak’s original works, the ownership of a name and its “rebranding” – and reflecting on the American Slave and how Black Americans deal with creating a similar sense of pride, familial storytelling and lineage in contemporary America.”