A Musical Collaboration

Some stories start with an accidental occurrence; some are started by an act of fate. The story of how Musica Marin’s Spring 2016 Concert Event, An Afternoon of Fine Music and Art came together is a bit of both.

Ruth Kahn, Artistic Director of Musica Marin, originally from the Bay Area living in NYC for twenty years, having to attend the prestigious Juilliard School and working as a professional musician for the New York City Ballet, met French violin maker Christophe Landon in NYC through his violin shop, he still runs in Manhattan. She attended and played concerts there at the gallery, and Christophe was primarily instrumental in helping Ruth find the very fine Italian Gagliano viola made in the 18th century that she loves to play.

So when Ruth eventually moved back to the Bay Area, she kept in touch with her good friend and colleague Christophe, a friendship that has last over 25 years.

The saying goes “great minds think alike” and in this case, the simpatico between Ruth and Christophe seems to make this statement true. As Ruth created the foundation for Musica Marin, she came up with a very singular logo. Years after the creation of this logo, Christophe informed Ruth that it looked very much like his water-inspired set of instruments he created called Calypso Quartet.

With the help of the talented Parisian artist Jean-Patrick Guilbert, who decorated the Quartet instruments with an oxidized copper power finish, Christophe made the perfect fusion of visual and musical arts. Ruth and Christophe then came up with the idea to do a Musica Marin event featuring the Calypso Quartet in a venue that would be near water and had beautiful views of the water and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The music choices were inspired not only by water, but also the great French cultural heritage, and the inspiration of music’s great emotional depth. Like water, music washes the hearer with beauty and a revitalizing energy, and the pieces chosen by Ms. Kahn, were Fauré’s 1st movement, Beethoven’s Op. 18 no. 4, and Musica Marin’s new Composer-in-Residence world debut suite for string quartet are a testament to this. A mutual friend and colleague of both Ruth and Christophe, violinist, Sarn Oliver a member of the San Francisco Symphony also performed virtuoso solos on one of the Calypso violins.

Christophe’s assistant, Jacob, who had studied the art of violin making in the Italian town of Cremona, hometown of Antonio Stradivarius, brought the Calypso Quartet instruments to the Bay Area. Christophe flew out on Sunday to attend the Musica Marin Concert Event as well as attending a violin maker’s conference in Berkeley.

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