Where Thought Touches the Blood SummerFest Music Festival: Visions and Decisions

Jul 11, 2023 | Off the Hook Arts

(Left to Right) Kyu-Young Kim, Marina Stroke, and Joshua Halpern perform Beethoven’s Piano Trio Opus 70, No. 2.

By: Avery Heylmun

Summerfest, by Off the Hook Arts and its supporters, kicked off Wednesday, June 21st, for the 11th year. Held at Grace Presbyterian Church, the pleasurable and friendly ambiance of the Church welcomed crowds of all ages coming to hear once-in-a-lifetime chamber music. The theme for this year came from Bruce Adolphe’s book, “Visions and Decisions” and tonight’s theme is: Where Thought Touches Blood, which explores the intersection of imagination and technical skill through the hypnagogic state, in the art of music composition.

This theme is repeated throughout the composition of his featured pieces and through the emotional work of the players. Tonight’s performance featured three artists: Kyu-Young Kim on the Violin, Joshua Halpern on the Cello, and Marija Stroke on the Piano. All highly talented players came together to play beautiful music for the audience.

The first piece featured Kyu-Young Kim and Marija Stroke playing Leoš Janàček: Sonata for Violin and Piano. A beautiful clash of intense violin and soothing piano, this piece reflects the “dream state” which Bruce speaks about in his book. As they played, the audience displayed a visible connection to the passion which resonated potently from the artist’s movement and intensity. This emotionally charged performance had people getting, “goosebumps” one concert-goer said.

The second piece was composed by Caroline Shaw, called In Manus Tuas, and was performed by Joshua Halpern on the Cello. It started with choir-style singing and led into a deeply passionate cello spotlight. This piece is about listening to another and follows the theme of inspiration arising from other music. Tying into the awake state of the hypnagogic state Bruce focuses his book on. These pieces showcased the interplay of intense violin and piano, evoking a connection with the listeners.

The finale united all three performers, Kyu-Young, Joshua, and Marija to play Beethoven’s Piano Trio Opus 70, No. 2. This piece captured the process of the hypnagogic state: awaken, dream, awaken, and the production of an idea. The harmonious sound emanated from the stage to give an experience a few in attendance described as, “one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard.”

Throughout the first night of Summerfest by Off the Hook Arts, Bruce’s skillfully sewn-in musings tied the theme together and provided a live and potent walkthrough of creating from the hypnagogic state. The mesmerizing production left the audience pondering not only the striking creation they just witnessed, but perhaps also the creative ability stored within their own sleepy subconscious.