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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Flute-marimba duo strikes serious, playful, innovative chords

Flutist Zara Lawler and Paul Fadoul, marimbist, perform at East Tennessee State University’s Mathes Recital Hall, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Flutist Zara Lawler and Paul Fadoul, marimbist, perform at East Tennessee State University’s Mathes Recital Hall, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

February 27, 2019

Flutist Zara Lawler is known for her innovative performances that meld music, dance, theater and poetry including staging a suite for 104 flutes at the Guggenheim Museum. As co-artistic director of the educational ensemble Tales & Scales, Lawler connected with percussionist Paul Fadoul, an award-winning solo and chamber performer and graduate of Yale School of Music.

In addition to other creative pursuits, they combine to perform as Lawler + Fadoul, flute and marimba and various other instruments for fun and effect. With Tales & Scales, Lawler and Fadoul toured the country performing works that integrated contemporary classical music with dance and theater, for children and family audiences. Incorporating movement and singing, virtuosity, humor and drama into their instrumental music, Lawler + Fadoul “mix pop culture, indie rock sensibilities and high art,” says the Albany Times-Union.

Lawler + Fadoul perform at East Tennessee State University’s Mathes Recital Hall Thursday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Since 2003, Lawler + Fadoul have performed together in many of the country’s most prestigious venues, including The Kennedy Center, Strathmore, the Cerritos Center, the Kravis Center, Trinity Wall Street, Vermont’s Yellow Barn and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. They made their Canadian debut in 2013, presented by the Edmonton Recital Society.

Lawler, who studied at The Juilliard School, made her concerto debut with the Houston Symphony and her recital debut at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall and has been called “an engaging, fluent, mellifluous soloist,” by the Houston Chronicle. The flutist has integrated dance and theater into her performances, with Tales & Scales, “The Flute on Its Feet” pieces for solo flute with dancer/choreographer C. Neil Parsons, and in large-scale choreographies for flutes including “E Pluribus Flutum,” Lawler’s work for 60 dancing flutists.

Fadoul has given solo and chamber performances across North America and Spain and is percussionist with Dark by Five, ensemble in residence at the Gros Morne Summer Music Festival. As a member of Tales & Scales from 2003-2005, Fadoul performed in more than 200 educational shows annually and has been on the music faculty at Peabody Institute. A graduate of Yale School of Music, Fadoul won the National Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition in the college division and the Brewster Award for the Kennedy Center Education Program.

As a duo, Lawler and Fadoul are dedicated to increasing the repertoire for their instrumentation. Their ongoing Gronica Project features the duo’s own transcriptions of works by Bach, Chopin, Shostakovich, Debussy, Gershwin and others and new preludes commissioned from American composers, including Katherine Hoover and Roshanne Etezady.

“In addition to creating new music, we are also expanding the sound scape of our duo to include piccolo, alto flute and vibraphone,” Lawler says.

“A lot of people’s perception of classical music is a little bit on a pedestal or separated, so a lot of what we like to do, we like to think of as highbrow and lowbrow at the same time,” Fadoul says in a 2018 video.

Lawler adds, “We have to find a way to make the music speak to people who haven’t gone to music school or had a music appreciation class, so finding other ways to make the whole thing feel approachable [is important] ... I think virtually every person has the capability of listening to music and understanding and getting something from it, but a lot of people think they don’t. They think they need to know something first, so a lot of the vibe we try to create in our performances is a way of getting past that feeling of it being on a pedestal.”

For information about ETSU’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts or to purchase tickets, visit www.etsu.edu/martin or call 423-439-8587. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for seniors 60+ and $5 for students of any age with ID.


Topics: Music