Notes from Robert Pippin’s trombone and Jiwon Choi’s piano harmonized and filled the Charles Johnson Theater April 17.
The hour-long recital included several pieces of music, each capturing the audience’s attention. However, none of the pieces were written for trombone.
The performance was titled “All For Not: A Collaborative Arts Performance With Music Not Written for Trombone.”
Assistant professor Robert Pippin said he played each song on his trombone despite the music being for a French horn and trumpet.
“The tunes I played that were written for French horn, I just read the French horn part. I just learned how to read the music different,” Pippin said. “(Another piece) I did was in treble clef, and I’m a bass clef instrument, so I just read that off as well.”
Alongside the pieces sounding unique due to the usage of the trombone, the highlight piece “Spiegel im Spiegel” included additional features.
In preparation for the piece, a backdrop rose to the ceiling revealing a wall of mirrors angled outwards at either end, and guest dancer Madeline Langenfeld with painter Michael Faris, a Northwest assistant professor, joined Pippin and Choi on stage.
While Pippin and Choi performed the 10-minute piece, Langenfeld performed a ballet and Faris focused on painting a piece from start to end.
The guest dancer Langenfeld said she became involved in the recital through her brother and her talent for Irish Dancing.
“My brother is a composer, so he does stuff with Dr. Pippin all the time. I’m a competitive Irish Dancer, so I perform Irish Dance all the time, but I never really get the chance to show off ballet,” Langenfeld said. “When this opportunity kind of fell in my lap I was like, ‘I’m gonna jump all over that.’”
Preparing for the recital provided Langenfeld an interesting task because the dance was improvised.
“It was kind of a different experience because it was my first time having to prepare and choreograph something on my own,” Langenfeld said. “And also I’ve never done this long of an improv piece.”
While the dancing and music took place, Faris was painting on the right side of the stage, creating a unique piece to be auctioned off after the performance.
In preparation for the recital, Faris was initially worried the painting couldn’t be done in time.
“I was wondering if I could actually do it. He told me the length of the song is 10 minutes, and I’m like, ‘Well, let me think about it for a few days,’ because, you know, I’m not a speed painter,” Faris said. “I’m actually really slow.”
Faris also faced a challenge in deciding what he wanted to paint.
“I didn’t realize what Spiegel im Spiegel means. That it means mirror to mirror, and then he (Pippin) explained that to me. And then I listened to the music quite a bit. I listened to it three or four times,” Faris said. “Then I thought, ‘I need to do something that reflects something back.’”
The painting depicted a single shape, seemingly nothing at first glance, forming two reflecting faces with the composer’s name at the bottom.
The last piece of the recital featured Pippin’s pet dog.
“We figured she’d be alright. She’s a very mellow dog, and we take her out into public a lot so she gets the chance to meet people,” Pippin said. “She’s great with people, she’s great with kids.”
During the piece she laid on her bed while the music played, capturing the attention of the audience.
After the recital concluded, Pippin said he was interested in having more in the future.
“I’ll do another one next year, and it’ll be something completely different. And I’ll probably do something interesting with artwork at that too,” Pippin said.