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Turning Lead To Air: Music for Cello From Primo Levi

Can narrative prose occasion instrumental music? Though countless compositions have been based on literary texts, the process from words to music can be elusive. A case in point was the world premiere of Luciano Chessa’s Piombo (Italian for lead)—from Primo Levi’s story of the same title—for solo cello, performed by the exceptional Frances-Marie Uitti on January 21 at Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, New York, and the following week, at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco.

See Festival: Sonics From South-Eastern Europe

The essence of this new festival is to discover artists from the southeast of Europe, bringing them farther north than is often the case. For this second edition, there were acts traveling from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Romania, Greece, and Turkey, as well as one band that co-opted members from Moldova, Bulgaria, Italy, and Belgium.


When watching the trio on YouTube, the players really advertise their influences: leader/saxophonist Anton Ponomarev has the shaggy tresses of a seventies European free-jazzer; electric bassist Konstantin Korolev, tall, bald, and bearded, screams extreme metal; and drummer Andrey Kim, lanky and shirtless, recalls the glory days of eighties–nineties NYC hardcore.

Nice Touch

Musicians often make their mark young, which makes sense given the energy and determination required to do so. They then must transform that early gift through the course of a life in order to sustain a career.


The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2023

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