Vasana String Trio
The Vasana String Trio was formed in 2012 in Berlin, born of the desire to create original string music with an approach that emphasizes the personal vision of the performers in addition to the composer. The pieces in Vasana’s repertoire are predominantly composed by the bassist of the group, Adam Goodwin, but each involves a great deal of personal interpretation and input from the performers, juxtaposing traditionally notated segments with graphic notation, spatial notation, and all out free improvisation. The members of the trio are all active improvisers as well as skilled classical and contemporary players, so the music can move freely from composed material to improvisation with no discernable gap in quality or intention. The name “Vasana” suggests patterns which are created from past activities, and as such the music of Vasana represents trends and approaches to musical performance spanning throughout the history of stringed instruments to the present day. These imprints from the past are still present, but do not suppress the incessant urge to explore and expand into new territory. The musical output of Vasana represents a vast array of influences, ranging from Scelsi to LaMonte Young to sludge metal, all the while shifting color according to the particular performance situation. The result is at times subtle and meditative, and at other moments ferocious and frightening. Harmonically, the compositions explore various approaches to tuning, including microtonal clusters, pure ratio tuning, and quartal and quintal harmonies. At other times, a lyrical and not-so-distant melody might arise out of a sound mass, only to dissolve back into a buzzing bed of insect sounds. In terms of rhythm, “Umweg,” for instance, is a polymetric piece, requiring all of the performers to play in different time signatures for the duration of the piece. “Wanderlust,” on the other hand, is spatially notated and requires the use of performer cues to signal the arrival of a new section. And of course, all of this may be altered at the discretion of the performers, who have as much or more control over the resulting music as the composer. Our current program includes just over one hour of music, including solos, duos, and trios performed by the members of Vasana. The pieces were all written over the span of the last five years, mostly specifically for the Vasana Trio.
The members of the Vasana Trio are:
Shasta Ellenbogen, viola
Hui-Chun Lin, cello
Adam Goodwin, contrabass