Cellist Jay Campbell is known for his wide-ranging and eclectic taste in music. An advocate of contemporary classical music, he has also collaborated with John Zorn and programmed three days’ worth of music for the 2016 New York Philharmonic’s Biennale. In addition to his career as a chamber musician and soloist, Campbell is also on the faculty at Vassar College.

View Transcript

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'NYC-ARTS.'

I'M PAULA ZAHN AT THE TISCH WNET STUDIOS AT LINCOLN CENTER.

THE CEREMONY FOR THIS YEAR'S AVERY FISHER CAREER GRANT AWARDS TOOK PLACE IN MARCH AT THE JEROME L. GREENE PERFORMANCE SPACE AT WQXR.

THESE INDIVIDUAL GRANTS OF $25,000 GIVE PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE AND RECOGNITION TO TALENTED INSTRUMENTALISTS WHO HAVE GREAT POTENTIAL FOR SOLO CAREERS.

CELLIST JAY CAMPBELL IS KNOWN FOR HIS WIDE-RANGING AND ECLECTIC TASTE IN MUSIC.

HE'S A MEMBER OF A PIANO TRIO WITH TWO FORMER WINNERS OF THE AVERY FISHER CAREER GRANT, CONRAD TAO AND STEFAN JACKIW.

AN ADVOCATE OF CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL MUSIC, HE HAS ALSO COLLABORATED WITH JOHN ZORN AND PROGRAMMED THREE DAYS' WORTH OF MUSIC FOR THE 2016 NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC'S BIENNALE.

IN ADDITION TO HIS CAREER AS A CHAMBER MUSICIAN AND SOLOIST, CAMPBELL IS ALSO ON THE FACULTY AT VASSAR COLLEGE.

> WELL, VARIETY IN GENERAL IS IMPORTANT TO MAINTAINING A CREATIVE DISPOSITION IN WHAT I'M DOING.

I HOPE WE'RE PAST THE POINT WHERE YOU'RE EITHER A SOLOIST, YOU'RE EITHER A CHAMBER MUSICIAN, OR YOU'RE AN ORCHESTRA MUSICIAN.

I ALMOST NEVER HAD A LOT OF INTEREST IN OLD MUSIC.

SO I GREW UP LEARNING IT AND PLAYING IT, BUT WHAT I WAS REALLY ATTRACTED TO WAS THE 20th CENTURY WORKS.

SO WHEN I WAS I THINK EITHER 12 OR 13 YEARS OLD, IT WAS A COMBINATION OF COMPOSING A LOT AND ALSO PLAYING PIECES BY COMPOSERS LIKE PROKOFIEV AND SHOSTAKOVICH, BARTOK, STRAVINSKY.

AND THEN AFTER GETTING MORE IN DEPTH IN SOME OF THOSE PIECES LOOKING, TO SEE WHAT INSPIRED THEM AND THEN KIND OF WORKING BACKWARDS.

SO I FEEL LIKE I'VE KIND OF TAKEN A BACK DOOR TO BEETHOVEN.

I'M PLAYING BEETHOVEN'S TAKE ON AN 'ARIA' FROM MOZART'S 'MAGIC FLUTE.'

IT'S BEETHOVEN ESSENTIALLY TAKING THIS THEME, THIS DUET, FROM THE 'MAGIC FLUTE, AND THEN KIND OF RIFFING ON IT, EXPANDING IT, REHARMONIZING IT.

SO THE THEME THAT HE'S DEALING IS THAT THESE TWO CHARACTERS PAMINA AND PAPAGENO ARE SINGING ABOUT LOVE IN A VERY BROAD SENSE, AND NOT ABOUT BEING IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER.

WE TAKE FOR GRANTED HIS KOOKYNESS BECAUSE LATE BEETHOVEN IS JUST SO CRAZY, BUT WHEN YOU SEE IT THROUGH THE LENS OF SOMETHING SO CLASSICALLY STRUCTURED LIKE MOZART, YOU COULD YOU COULD REALLY SEE WHERE HIS QUIRKS ARE.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME EUNTAEK KIM AND I HAVE PLAYED TOGETHER, AND HE'S AN AMAZING MUSICIAN.

I FIND HE'S HAS A VERY INFECTIOUS TYPE OF MUSICALITY.

IN PERFORMANCE, THERE'S ENOUGH CONVICTION IN HIS PLAYING THAT I CAN GO WITH HIM SPONTANEOUSLY SOMETHING THAT WE HAVEN'T REHEARSED BEFORE.

THE AVERY FISHER CAREER GRANT CAME UP AT AN INTERESTING TIME.

I DEFINITELY GO THROUGH PHASES WHERE I DOUBT MY PLAYING A LOT, SO GETTING A PHONE CALL ABOUT THIS WAS A KIND OF A JOLT OF REASSURANCE.

I THINK THAT IS WHAT KEEPS YOU PRACTICING.

IT KEEPS YOU STRIVING TO FIND WAYS TO CONNECT WITH AN AUDIENCE BETTER, AND I THINK THAT'S ULTIMATELY WHAT OUR ENDEAVOR IS ABOUT.

♪♪ [ APPLAUSE ]