On April 27, 2014, violinist Alex Granger premiered American composer Lucas Floyd's violin concerto in San Francisco Conservatory of Music's Sol Joseph Recital Hall. The concerto was performed on a 2010 violin crafted by master Los Angeles violinmaker Eric Benning.
Los Angeles, CA July 20, 2014 - Concert artist Alex Granger has premiered a violin concerto by American composer Lucas Floyd, performing on a violin crafted by Los Angeles violinmaker Eric Benning. The premier took place at the Sol Joseph Recital Hall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) on April 27, 2014 with Eric Choate conducting the conservatory’s ad hoc string orchestra.
Floyd, who studied composition at both the San Francisco and Biola University Conservatories of Music, dedicated the work to Granger. “Ever since I met Alex, I knew I had to write something for him. It was his idea for me to compose a violin concerto as my Masters Thesis,” said Floyd. “Alex is probably the most devoted musician I know.”
Violinist Granger holds a performance degree from Biola University, where he was named the conservatory’s Presser Scholar and held the post of concertmaster of the Biola Symphony Orchestra. Currently, he is working to complete his Masters as a Sima Mannick Endowed Music Scholar at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
Granger plays and performs on a recently acquired 2010 Stradivarius model crafted by Benning who is considered a modern master violinmaker. It features an antiqued varnish after the 1725 “Da Vinci” Strad. The instrument is, according to Eric Benning, “a great solo instrument, powerful and capable of producing bright clear tones.”
“Eric's violins have a deep and rich sound that stand out in an ensemble,” said Granger. “I was especially surprised at how clear the violin projected in the solo role with a string orchestra accompaniment. I don't feel like I need to work to create the sound on Eric's violin, but rather can let the violin play itself. Eric's violins have a distinct, robust sound that fill the concert hall with piercing depth and clarity.”
Floyd’s concerto is comprised of three movements, the first of which the composer titles “Pensive – Fast, with Thick Energy – Seething” and features a cadenza. Movement 2, “Breathing, Longing” and Movement 3, “Wild” follow the first movement, which the composer describes as “the heart of the piece”.
“Premiering Lucas' violin concerto was one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I've ever had as a musician,” added Granger. “It was the first time I didn't feel like I had to interpret the music based on certain performance standards. A few days before the performance, I realized that my interpretation was the standard, and that I was free to communicate the music exactly as I felt was necessary.”
Benning Violins has become a mainstay institution on the West Coast for premier performers – as well as other concert and performing artists, renowned teachers, amateurs, students and players of all levels since 1953. Fine violins, violas and cellos crafted by Eric are played by a number of premier players, concert performers and recording artists.of the premiere of Lucas Floyd’s violin concerto.