First Things First

first things first is my first solo album, on New Amsterdam Records, which I released in 2009. In a way, it’s chapter 1 of my solo viola commissioning project; this album is a sort of synthesis of all of these projects and friendships that started in my early twenties. The first piece I ever really commissioned is the first track on this album: Duet No. 1, Chorale Pointing Downwards by Nico. The process of editing and refining this piece (which was originally almost unplayably awkward) was surprisingly wonderful, and I discovered that this type of work was literally my favorite thing.

The music on this album is the result of my collaborations with three fantastic composers, Nico MuhlyMarcos Balter, and Judd Greenstein. Nico I met at school, and Judd and Marcos were both fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center with me, an unspeakably idyllic music festival in the Berkshires.

These guys are wonderful collaborators as well as wonderful friends, and these pieces (most of which were commissioned over a bourbon or two) represent some really lovely collaborations.

The one piece on this album that I did not commission is the last track, The Night Gatherers by Judd. It was commissioned by another Tanglewood friend of ours as a memorial to her grandmother. When I was putting this album together, I thought it would not only contribute beautifully to the arc of the record, but also give me the opportunity to work with my brother, a fantastic violist, and his ensemble, the wonderful Chiara Quartet.

All of these personal connections make this record really special for me, but more importantly, the music on this record is really good; all three of these guys have really strong, individual voices, but I think their music speaks well together. Their music is innovative, and yet feels timely and inevitable. I am so pleased to interpret these guys’ work, and I am thrilled to release this first record.


4 Responses to “First Things First”
  1. Tom says:

    Hey, Nadia – love your show, and wanted to share some of your POV with my son, who’s studying with Michael Strauss at Jacobs. Couldn’t buy this album at your Bandcamp site? No buy link – what’s up? Where can your fans and friends get ‘first things first?’

    • nadiasir says:

      Fabulous!! You can download the record on iTunes and purchase a physical CD from Amazon. Let me know if you have any trouble!

  2. TawnieO says:

    What a gorgeous album! Love the pieces and the performances. I wish the composers’ names were included in the digital download so I didn’t have to guess who wrote which piece. But that’s my only complaint, and it’s a pretty small one.

  3. Keith Fongheiser says:

    Hi Nadia,
    I was listening to Steve Reich radio on my “mog” music program today and “Tooth and Nail” came up. I was completely taken into the music. It was definitely one of those moments that makes you understand why you spend so much time and effort to practice and study music. I am sure you know the feeling I am describing. So I listened to it about 8 more times and then I came to my senses and realized that there was probably a whole album that went with it. I was wondering if there is any score available. I would be more than willing to purchase it from you. It would be for studying purposes. Especially for “Tooth and Nail”.

    Thank you for doing what you do and loving what you do. I love it too! Good work and Great collaborations!