Grammy-winning cellist Zuill Bailey performed with Orchestra Iowa at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids last Saturday and at West High School in Iowa City on Sunday. He chose to play Michael Daugherty’s cello concerto, “Tales of Hemingway.”
“Tales of Hemingway” was inspired by the turbulent lifestyle of the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway. Cellist Zuill Bailey and Orchestra Iowa captured that turbulence and perfectly evoked the adventurous lifestyle of Hemingway.
Bailey was a 2017 Grammy Award winner in the Best Classical Compendium, Best Classical Instrumental Solo and Best Contemporary Classical Composition categories for the piece he performed alongside Nashville Symphony in 2015.
Michael Daugherty, a Cedar Rapids native, brings his Grammy-winning concerto to life with four of Hemingway’s famous novels and stories including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” The Sun Also Rises,” “Big Two-Hearted River” and “The Old Man and the Sea.”
Bailey plays with a passion that allows him to transcend beyond his instrument and the music he plays. Listening to the magic unravel while he plays “The Old Man and the Sea” is an experience every music aficionado must have. The sound produced by the virtuoso resembles seagulls flying above the boat piloted by the old man, Santiago, as he attempts to catch a giant marlin.
On the other hand, the music piece “The Sun Also Rises” paints a picture of a happy fiesta along the running of bulls in Pamplona, Spain. The character in the book, Jake Barnes, is bitter and wounded by war and makes his journey to Spain for the annual event.
Cellist Bailey and Orchestra Iowa were in perfect harmony throughout the entire concert. Images through a projection of slides further enhanced the concert experience and displayed pictures of Hemingway at various locales and famous quotes of his.
A performance from Orchestra Iowa followed the concert. A piece composed by Jocelyn Morlock called “My Name is Amanda” was inspired by a British-Columbia teenager Amanda Todd. She was a victim of cyberbullying and committed suicide.
A video of hers was provided by Foundation 2, an organization that counsels people with mental illnesses. The video was shown during the performance and made a powerful impact on the audience.
The concert concluded with Beethoven’s “Coriolan Overture” and Robert Schumann’s “Symphony No.4" in D minor. The musical theme revolved around individuals, authors, and composers with mental illness.
It was truly an experience unlike any other.
Image credit: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/entertainment/events/2016/05/19/stay-tune-cellists-cd-itunes-amazon/84501694/