Zak Reporting from Banff in an email to the guys

Greetings from the Canadian Rockies! I’m about to start Day 3 of recording with the Afiaras and things are going very well. We gotten through the 1st, 3rd and 4th movements of Beethoven Op. 59/1 and we’re going to finish it up with the Scherzo today and hopefully get through a large chunk of  Op. 131. These guys are recording SO incredibly well…this is the best I’ve heard them and I’m definitely putting them through their paces: They recorded 6 hours straight on Day 1 and then did a solid 8.5 hours on Day 2. I’ll be pushing them again today, just to stay on track, but they’re definitely keeping up with the pace.

Barry Shiffman has been really great. He’s been totally hands off with the recording (popping in every once in a while to see that we’re doing ok) and just lets us have the space to do what we need to do. The facilities as you can imagine are amazing and they have two “student” engineers that are phenomenal – they have a recording/sound engineering program that’s been running all Spring so these guys really know what they’re doing.

Mark Steinberg is also here coaching the Chamber Music Residency, as well as Joel Krosnick (who will be playing with the Schubert Quintet with the Afiara’s on Saturday), Gilbert Kalish and James Boyd. It’s too bad I won’t be able to stick around and check out some of the concerts.

I didn’t realize that Zoltan Szekely of the Hungarian Quartet lived and taught here for close to 30 years after the Hungarian Quartet disbanded. Anyway, I need to check out the library because there’s a ton of Szekely’s papers including Bartok scores, parts and letters.

It’s a pretty amazing set up they’ve got over here. I haven’t had a chance to go down to town yet because the Centre has everything…there’s food, a gym, swimming pool, amazing hiking (not that I have time to do any of that). It’s pretty cool place to work.

Anyway, I wanted you guys to hear about what’s going on up here. I’m really proud of what these guys are doing and how well they’re playing.

— Zakarias Grafilo

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