San Francisco Performances' Family Matinees engage young audiences in performances by artists of the highest caliber in hour-long programs. Composer-performer Regina Carter and ensemble will perform standard and innovative jazz for violin.
Carter combines dazzling technical proficiency and profound compositional and improvisational gifts with a fresh, aggressive approach to her instrument and a multicultural perspective-and she challenges our preconceptions regarding the violin. "People are only used to hearing violin in European classical music or country music," says the Detroit-born violinist, "and so we get stuck in this idea that this is what a violin is supposed to do."
In Carter's hands, the violin reveals both its melodic side and its potential for percussive expression. Perhaps more significantly, Regina Carter demonstrates the violinist's eagerness to explore musical combinations and contexts both familiar and unexpected.
The ease with which Carter is able to switch musical idioms derives from a lifetime spent immersed in music. She began playing the piano at the age of two, then switched to violin at four. Carter considers the Suzuki method of instruction-which emphasizes learning by doing, to play by ear rather than by sight-to be a significant factor in her subsequent ability to improvise since, as she says, "it freed us up from the paper-from reading a lot."