For Fred for Violin and Piano
For Fred was written in memory of the legendary Chicago-based saxophonist Fred Anderson, in whose band I played piano when I was 16 years old. When he passed away in 2010, I wanted to write something in his memory, but couldn’t find the right instrumental combination after starting the work several times. I finally settled on Violin and Piano as the perfect way to express the full range of emotions that I felt.
The work starts out with an Elegy. You might hear an echo of church bells in the repetitive theme in the right hand of the piano. After a dramatic and emotional passage in the violin, similar to a vocal recitative, the Elegy shifts to a more upbeat section, entitled “His Legacy Lives On.” This section recalls the music that Fred Anderson played in his nightclub, where the bass player would play a repeating figure and Fred would improvise on that figure. The Elegy returns, but is interrupted by a quiet ending. Below is a video of the performance of For Fred by the violinist Sini Virtanen and the pianist Eunmi Ko at the 2018 USF New Music Festival in Tampa, Florida.