Nothing is Forever/Niekas Neamzina

November 28, 2015 at 6:59 am
Karen with director Aiste Ptakauske

Karen with director Aiste Ptakauske


On December 10, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. American violinist and violist Karen Bentley Pollick and Lithuanian director Aiste Ptakauske will invite Lithuanian audiences to the Central Library of Vilnius City Municipality at Zirmunu 6, Vilnius, to take part in an artistic adventure dedicated to climate change and called Nothing is Forever.

Nothing is Forever is a part of the global Climate Change Theater Action – a series of worldwide readings and performances in support of the United Nations Paris Climate Conference taking place November 30 – December 11, 2015. The Climate Change Theater Action is intended to bring awareness to, and foster discussion around, climate change during the months of November and December 2015. A collection of short plays, poems and songs by 50 writers from all six livable continents has been made available to artists worldwide. Five works from this collection will be presented in Lithuanian in Vilnius, Lithuania, on December 10, 2015: Hanami by Naomi Iizuka (USA), Mother by Chantal Bilodeau (USA/Canada), Gust (The Hurricane Song) by Greencard Wedding (USA), Prayer by Angella J. Emruwon (Uganda), and Finale by Kendra Fanconi (Canada). These dramatic dialogues will be framed by live violin and viola solos from “Fratres” by Arvo Pärt (Estonia), “Mont Ararat” by Dominique de Williencourt (France), “Careless Whisper” by Andrew Ridgeley (USA), and “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” by Sholom Secunda (USA).

“I appreciate every chance to sustain and strengthen relationships with my inspiring colleagues whom I’ve been lucky to meet and work with in different parts of the world”, says director Aiste Ptakauske. “Nothing is Forever is a wonderful proof how an artist can be a part of the global community despite of all geopolitical distances. I’m very much looking forward to this opportunity to introduce to Lithuanian audiences new authors that are well known in their countries, but have not yet been produced in Lithuania”.

Aiste Ptakauske is an experience designer who successfully works across different media and continents. She published a collection of short stories, two novels, and a Lithuanian translation of Leonard Cohen’s novel Beautiful Losers, wrote scripts for theater, film, and television in Lithuania and abroad, directed site-specific concert opera Everardo II, King of Lithuania, and made Ethnic Kitchen, an internationally distinguished documentary about immigrant women in Lithuania.

Karen Bentley Pollick studied with Camilla Wicks in San Francisco, and with Yuval Yaron, Josef Gingold, and Rostislav Dubinsky at Indiana University, where she received both Bachelors and Masters of Music Degrees in Violin Performance. Her recordings of original music include Electric Diamond, Angel, Konzerto and Succubus, and Ariel View, for which she has received three music awards from Just Plain Folks, including Best Instrumental Album and Best Song. Karen has toured with the New York Philharmonic, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, the Bolshoi Ballet and Barbra Streisand, and has recorded with the Dave Matthews Band and Evanescence as well as numerous film scores at Skywalker Ranch. A current resident of Vilnius, Karen says she’s mesmerized by the music tradition in Lithuania and dreams of playing a program consisting solely of works by Lithuanian composers.

“In my native California we’ve been very concerned with ecological issues since I was born”, Karen Bentley Pollick explains. “Nothing is Forever will present a variety of ethnicities and cultural traditions that are all concerned with the same issues of climate change. My hope is that Lithuanians will walk away from this presentation realizing that it truly is a small world after all and that we’re all in this together”. Company Code 303753928

Baroque Fantasy live performance from Seattle now on YouTube

December 24, 2012 at 3:40 am

Stuart Diamond, Baroque Fantasy for Violin & Video
Karen Bentley Pollick, Violin

The Chapel at Good Shepherd Center
Seattle, Washington
November 16, 2012
Technical Director: Vance Galloway
Camera: Cameron Jessup
Original Video footage recorded at Metropolitan State College Studio in Denver on July 12, 2012: Sam McGuire, engineer

“Baroque Fantasy” was originally commissioned by Max Pollikoff, founder of “Music in Our Time,” the landmark modern music series performing primarily at the 92nd Street Y from the 1950’s through to the late 1970’s. One of the leading contemporary music violinists of his day, he asked me to write a solo violin work. Delving into the great solo works of Bach, Ysaÿe and others, I sought to write a work that hearkens back to the music of those earlier eras, yet through the refraction of a modern prism. Max premiered Baroque Fantasy in 1974 and it immediately became one of his favorites, a signature piece that he performed repeatedly for the rest of his career.

Karen Bentley Pollick ‘s performance at our “Electric Diamond” concert at The Walker Stage in Manhattan in June 2012 was the first performance since Max’s last recital. In July she suggested that I create a video accompaniment to the work for her upcoming “Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity” production in New York and Seattle. I took the original video footage from the recording of the work and combined it with other visual elements — primarily Rocco images of European church architecture and a few computer generated effects. Treating the limited visual elements as though they were musical motifs I created a parallel visual world as an accompaniment to the music. I then took the video of the Karen’s performance in Seattle and recombined all the elements again to create the present version of “Baroque Fantasy.”

Stuart Diamond

For more information please visit: and

Jeffrey Harrington Grand Tango for Violin & Video on YouTube

December 7, 2012 at 1:03 am

Grand Tango Seattle

Jeffrey Harrington’s Grand Tango for Violin & Video live in Seattle, November 16, 2012

Our Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity performance in Seattle coincided with the Leonid meteor showers on an overcast evening to fuel a cascade of indoor fireworks during the performance of Jeffrey Harrington’s Grand Tango for Violin & Video that is now on YouTube.

Jeffrey Harrington, Grand Tango for Violin & Video
Karen Bentley Pollick, Violin

The Chapel at Good Shepherd Center
Seattle, Washington
November 16, 2012
Technical Director: Vance Galloway
Video: Cameron Jessup
Violin: Karen Bentley Pollick


“When I moved to Avignon, France in 2010 I had already begun a series of tangos and I had no idea I was moving into the heart of the French tango territory itself, Nimes, which is 25 miles away. Needless to say, we’re surrounded by tango music and many of our local friends are tango dancers themselves.

My music has always sought to exploit under-explored melodic and rhythmic territories from around the world without openly quoting or utilizing pastiche. Grand Tango for Solo Violin is written in the tradition of the concert tango and was inspired not only by the popular traditional music but also by the virtuoso solo violin music of Bach.The video for Grand Tango for Solo Violin was created by computer processing public domain tango video footage frame by frame and then editing it to loosely match a recording Karen had provided me.  I used a combination of effects, including creating different types of chaotic dispersion fields around each image that produces a halo of curves and waves that I then colored in various ways.  At various moments of the video I used mirroring effects, which give each image a mandala-esque appearance.  The end result is a video creating a continuous stream of various forms of abstraction for each the dancer’s movements. Original source material of the video shot by Jeff Mission, Travis Vautour, and Leonid Andreev at the Redtail Collective, Boston, MA. Lighting by Travis Vautour. Editing and post-production by Jeff Mission. Dancers: Eve and Keki.”

Jeffrey Harrington

Karen Bentley Pollick is one of America’s leading contemporary violinists and violists. She has premiered hundreds of new compositions across a diverse range of styles. Presently she tours with Two Sense pianist Lisa Moore and the Paul Dresher Double Duo, as well as with Russian pianist/composer Ivan Sokolov. She received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for her 2010 Solo Violin and Alternating Currents concerts. “Rarely will a recital such as this engage the ear from beginning to end, yet each piece at Birmingham Museum of Art event had a unique style and temperament, reflecting Pollick’s keen sense for gleaning quality in experimental music and giving these scores their rightful due… Pollick not only extended that thread, she vitalized and emboldened it.” Michael Huebner, Birmingham

Jeffrey Harrington was born and raised in the Deep South, spending most of his formative high school years in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he became personally familiar with many great blues artists with his work at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. While he has studied with many famous composers at Juilliard and Tulane, including Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions, he attributes his musical education to self-study.

Jeffrey Harrington’s music is characterized by New Orleans-influenced rhythms, and intense counterpoint and climaxes. A noted microtonalist and electronic experimentalist, he was also one of the first musicians to adopt the Internet for music distribution and promoting, starting in 1987 with RelayNet emails and BBS downloading. He is likely the first composer to utilize the Internet to further his career, and probably invented the free music distribution model. By employing pre-web computer systems he distributed his music (both scores and all recordings) to musicians and listeners around the world free of charge garnering worldwide performances and attention. He continues to do so to this day at his site: Harrington moved to Avignon, France in 2010 after his home on Sanibel Island was threatened by the oil spill. In November 2011, Harrington had 4 world premieres across the globe in 20 days, two in Germany by Duo Ahlert und Schwab and The Twiolins, one in London, by Camilla Hoitenga, and one in Southern California by The Hutchins Consort.

The score to Grand Tango is available for free download:,_Jeffrey_Michae…
More music:

Albany Consort performs at Stanford and Palo Alto on December 7 & 8, 2012

December 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm


The Albany Consort presents

Four friends in an eclectic mix of styles and a guarantee of no Christmas themes!

A sonata for organ by Johann Sebastian Bach, in Marion Rubinstein’s arrangement for recorder, violin, cello and harpsichord.  A violin concerto by Antonio Vivaldi, in his own arrangement for the same group.  A sonata for violin and harpsichord by Bach, untarnished other than by the inspiration of the moment.  And two new pieces for violin and harpsichord by Alex Shapiro and Sheli Nan.

In his sonatas for violin and harpsichord, Bach paved the way for the two instruments to have an equal say when playing together.  Sheli Nan’s Absinthe is identifiably in this tradition, a lovely mellow musical account of a meeting of two close friends on a rainy day.  Alex Shapiro’s Slip is anything but in any tradition – bringing together the greatest number of different styles ever to be found in a single piece of music – Cuban, Egyptian, Indian, Japanese, Irish, Italian, Bluegrass, Rock-n-roll, Hot Club quintet, Greek – but ironically with no reference to the eighteenth century at all.

The virtuoso ensemble of friends for this program consists of Marion Rubinstein (recorder), Karen Bentley Pollick (violin), Dan Reiter (cello) and Jonathan Salzedo (harpsichord).

Friday, December 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Stanford Hospital Atrium, Bing Concert Series

Free Admission!


Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto

505 East Charleston Road

Palo Alto, California  94306

General Admission:  $25    Senior $15   Student $10   Family maximum $50     (408) 480-0182


Estadio for Viola by Greg Simon now at CDBaby

October 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Release date:  October 24, 2012

Violist Karen Bentley Pollick performs Estadio: a lush, introspective elegy by young composer Greg Simon.

Karen Bentley Pollick | Estadio for Viola

Now available as a download from CDBaby!

On September 15, 1973, Chilean songwriter and activist Victor Jara was murdered by the military forces who, days earlier, had overthrown Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. His last days were spent in captivity; along with thousands of innocent Chileans, he was detained by the military junta in Estadio Chile, the national stadium. The details of his death aren’t clear, but what is known is that even in his last days he was sketching for a new song, which he had named after the stadium which would hold him until his death.

Estadio was written in memory of Victor Jara, one of my most important and personal musical heroes. Its main themes are drawn from two of my most beloved of his songs, “El Derecho de Vivir en Paz” and “El Alma Llena de Banderas.” Like his last work, it is named after the stadium in which he spent his final days.

Estadio was written for Andrew Krimm, during a residency at the Brevard Music Center.

Recorded at Metropolitan State College Studio in Denver, Colorado on May 24, 2012

Sam McGuire, Engineer

Cover photo:  Karen Bentley Pollick

Graphics: Greg Simon

Viola by William Whedbee, 1987

VVVV Press Release November 11 in Brooklyn; November 16 in Seattle

October 19, 2012 at 5:17 am

Karen Bentley Pollick performs “Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity” on Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm at the Firehouse Space: 246 Frost Street in Brooklyn, New York 11211.

Tickets $10 at the door.  Take the L Train to Graham Avenue.

For more information contact:

Sandra Sprecher (917) 709-7799

Karen Bentley Pollick performs “Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity” on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm at the Chapel of Good Shepherd Center: 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98103

Tickets $5-15 sliding scale at the door. 

For more information contact:

Steve Peters (206) 789-1939


With Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity Karen Bentley Pollick breaks old stereotypes of solo string concert formats. Each work on the program was created expressly for Ms. Bentley Pollick and explores the synergy of video and solo strings to comprise a concert presentation in which the visual is as important as the auditory, where sound and image combine to explore new horizons of artistic possibilities.

The program features world premieres of Jeffrey Harrington’s Grand Tango for violin with tango infused video created by the composer; Seattle composer Nat Evans’ and video artist Erin Elyse Burns’ desert scape Heat Whispers; and New York composer Stuart Diamond’s prismatic video that he created for his 1974 Baroque Fantasy  for violin, a work championed by the late Max Polikoff.

New York video artist Sheri Wills‘ videos are featured in Sapphire for violin and electronics (2010) by New York composer Preston Stahly; Dilemma for viola (1987) by Czech composer Jan Jirásek; The Red Curtain Dance for viola (2003) and Letter to Avigdor for violin (1990) by Israeli American composer Ofer Ben-Amots; and Metaman for violin with digital sound & video (2009) by Rome Prize winner Charles Norman Mason.  Sheri’s 5 videos represented on Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity (filmed during the April 26, 2012 launch from Evergroove Studio in Evergreen, Colorado) can be viewed at: Sheri Wills Videos. Sheri’s video artistry is featured in the October/November 2012 issue of Art Voices Magazine.

Karen Bentley Pollick is one of America’s leading contemporary violinists and violists. She has premiered hundreds of new compositions across a diverse range of styles. Presently she tours with Two Sense pianist Lisa Moore and the Paul Dresher Double Duo, as well as with Russian pianist/composer Ivan Sokolov.  She received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for her 2010 Solo Violin and Alternating Currents concerts. “Rarely will a recital such as this engage the ear from beginning to end, yet each piece at Birmingham Museum of Art event had a unique style and temperament, reflecting Pollick’s keen sense for gleaning quality in experimental music and giving these scores their rightful due…Pollick not only extended that thread, she vitalized and emboldened it.” Michael Huebner, Birmingham News

Program notes:  Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity


Baroque Fantasy video

October 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I have been enjoying resurrecting Stuart Diamond’s 1974 composition Baroque Fantasy for Violin this summer, first at the Walker Stage in Tribeca on June 22 before heading into the recording studio at Metropolitan State College in Denver where I shot the source footage for this video with Sam McGuire engineering.  Baroque Fantasy will have its next incarnation during upcoming Violin, Viola & Video Virtuosity  concerts at the Firehouse Space in Brooklyn on November 11 and at the Chapel of Good Shepherd Center in Seattle on November 16 with live violin in tandem with the images on the screen.

Recording Ladislav Kubik’s music at FSU

September 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Recording Ladislav Kubik’s setting of my poem Dawn at FSU Recital Hall in Tallahassee

We recorded Ladislav Kubik‘s setting of my poem Dawn for Mezzo Soprano, Violin and Piano on September 14, 2012 at FSU Recital Hall in Tallahassee, Florida with Vaclav Zamazal as our Engineer and Producer leading the session in Czech, German and English.  Hearing Phyllis Pancella‘s velvet sonority and precise diction was a thrilling experience, elevating my words and images into another realm of comprehension and ecstasy.  Hui-Ting Yang‘s solid and artistic pianism on the resident Fazioli grand piano provided the backdrop for Kubik’s romantic setting.  Our rehearsals were  joyous occasions and the meals and comraderie we enjoyed over the several days of intensive preparation were multilingual banquets exchanging sagas and insights on a wide range of topics.  The fruit of our labors will be released in spring 2013 on the Qualiton/Neos label along with Kubik’s Duo Concertante and other songs.

August 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm

In early August I spent a week residing at the Landesmusikakademie in Ochsenhausen, Germany rehearsing new pieces composed at the monastery during the week prior. With my colleagues cellist František Brikcius, pianist Sabine Sauer-Essl and percussionist Aurélien Hadyniak we premiered all seven compositions at the Joseph Dorfman Composition Competition held during the afternoon on Thursday, August 9. The same evening we performed John Zirkle‘s winning composition Structures in Space for piano trio at the ISAM Gala Concert concert and prize giving ceremony at the Bibliothekssaal Ochsenhausen.

Below are photos from the post concert Gala party with John Zirkle, Sabine Sauer-Essl and Aurelien Hadyniak.  Also enjoying the reception are Czech composer Jan Jirasek and German organist Juergen Essl.  I will reprise Jirasek’s Dilemma for viola on my upcoming Violin, Viola, Video & Virtuosity concerts and it was a pleasure to meet Jan at Ochsenhausen after having corresponded about and performed his compositions. Jurgen and I continued our collaboration with a September 11 Memorial Concert at Shove Chapel at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, featuring works of Vitali, Bach, Jirasek, Ofer Ben-Amots and Essl.

Congratulations to all the composers present at ISAM:  John Zirkle, Shuying Li, Thomas Kotcheff, Eva Kara, Renan Zelada, David Paul Vandervort, James Canepa & Daniel Bukin.  May you continue to follow your own muse and sonic visions!


Sam Adams Piano Trio launched at Barge Music

July 15, 2012 at 1:35 am














At long last, we premiered Samuel Carl Adams‘ Piano Trio at Bargemusic on June 20, 2012 with TwoSense cellist Ashley Bathgate and pianist Lisa Moore, “a charismatic cello-and-piano duo whose new-music agenda focusses largely on composers from Yale.” New Yorker

A synopsis of the drama surrounding the closing of the Barge on September 28 – 29, 2011 is included in this review on Seen and Heard International. Chris McGovern was present at the Barge and wrote a glowing review of the evening for The Glass.  Ashley shot this video from the corner of the stage for you to rock out and sway along with Sam’s energetic music.