Phillip Rukavina, Lutenist

Phillip Rukavina, lutenist

My Thoughts on Music

Welcome to my blog where, from time to time, I will express some of my thoughts on music and music making. If you find this blog useful, please share it with your friends. If you have thoughts of your own, please feel free to contact me at

June 6, 2014 Just want to remind everyone of the upcoming LSA Lute Festival 2014 being held at Case Western Reserve University this coming June 22-28. I'm very excited about the event! Event Director Jason Presit has put together a great faculty this year, including some wonderful lutenists who haven't been around the Seminar for a few years. Time to see what musical thoughts have been brewing in the minds of virtuoso players such as Jakob Lindberg, Paul Beier, and Richard Stone, to name a few. I will be teaching a class titled Music for the Vihuela da Mano: Another Look. It will be a sweeping look at the repertoire for the vihuela and viola da mano and offer a chance for participants to work on the music with instrument in hand. The class will include a survey of the sources of vihuela music, the influence of the instrument on European culture, and a bit of playing each day of the class. Hope to see you there!

May 5, 2014: Last Saturday evening, Tom Walker and I (Terzetti Lute Duo) performed lute duets at a wonderful house party. The event took place at the home of Lois Quam and was a celebration of her appointment as the COO of The Nature Conservancy as well as her reception of an Honorary Doctorate degree from Augsburg College. Also included on the program was the wonderful Minnesota Poet Tom Hennen. Tom read some of poems from his Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems published by Copper Canyon Press (2013). The event was attended by about 50 people and the experience was delightful for all. I can't say enough how impressed I was with the success of presenting lute music in such an intimate, house-concert setting.

It should probably come as no surprise. After all, wasn't this the reality of professional lute performances during the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras? Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, this experience is a mostly missed opportunity to present and promote the lute. I would love to see the creation of regional, or even a national concert circuit which would provide the opportunity for lovers of lute music to hear live concerts more regularly in their communities and, even more, in the intimate setting of a lovely private home. I believe that, handled well, a circuit of lute house-concerts would enable outstanding performers to make more frequent appearances around the country, while making a reasonable income and bringing the performance of lute music back to it's natural, intimate setting, the private home.

Of course, there is no patronage system for lutenists as there was in the past. However, if a modest fee of $20 were charged for admission and 50 or so folks came to experience the performance, the resulting gate of $1,000 or so would be sufficient for most professional performers, particularly if there were several performances booked in one relatively small area and if the perfromers could bunk at the private home for the night. If food and drink were offered at an event the presenter could certainly be reimbursed for costs. I believe this is an idea that could be organized by the Lute Society of America and suppored by LSA members willing to lend their homes for the cause.

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