MELIA WATRAS: THE LESSON
for recorded voice, violin and viola (2017)
 
 Photo courtesy of Atar Arad

Photo courtesy of Atar Arad

 

World Premiere: Atar Arad, recorded voice; Michael Jinsoo Lim, violin; Melia Watras, viola; March 28, 2018, Seattle, WA

Duration: 6:17

Program Notes:
Anyone who knows me knows how meaningful Atar Arad is to my life. My former professor at Indiana University, Atar inspires me as a performer, composer, teacher and human being. I am grateful to have been his student, and to be his friend.

The Lesson is an homage to Atar. As a teacher, Atar is second to none. He is a supreme violist and musician who knows what each of his students needs to become better. He delivers words of wisdom and encouragement, often with a touch of his trademark humor. I decided to write a piece that would feature audio clips of Atar’s voice (from viola lessons in his studio at Indiana) that would be played back alongside a violinist and a violist performing live.

I travelled to Bloomington in the fall of 2017 and spent two days recording Atar’s lessons. As I observed his teaching, I saw remarkable transformations in each student, in just the one hour they spent with Atar. Atar’s patience, generosity and relentless pursuit of excellence truly make him a master teacher. Many thanks to Atar and his wonderful students, for allowing me to observe and record their lessons.

No matter how many times I listen to the recordings of Atar’s teaching, his words always fill my heart, and put a big smile on my face.

The Lesson is part of my Folk Style Project.

—Melia Watras