Duo plays at BC

Daulton James Jones, Reporter

Last Sunday night, Bakersfield College welcomed New York-based Transylvanian pianist Lucien Ban and Grammy nominated violinist Mat Maneri. The duo performed their 2013 award-winning Transylvanian Concert album.

This concert was full of many different varieties of music ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to traditional Transylvanian folk music. With this wide range of music, the audience was pleased to see artists with such variety, especially since the majority of attendees were Bakersfield College music students who seemed very appreciative of the authenticity of Ban and Maneri.

During the public talk at the beginning, Ban and Maneri played some of their personal favorites from jazz and classical pieces as well. In between pieces, they gave brief reasons as to why they love that song, and what it personally meant to them in terms of their growth as an artist and what it taught them. During this section of the concert, they also took some time to answer audience questions. Many were interested in Ban’s Transylvanian upbringing.

“In Transylvania, I was heavily influenced by American jazz. I thought it was beautiful, and just so freeing,” Ban said.

When Maneri was asked about his upbringing and what ultimately led him to jazz, he said that he grew up learning classical music from his father who was also a musician. He excelled in learning the classical compositions, but like Ban, he enjoyed the impromptu, freeing, off-the-cuff nature of jazz.

The two of them exchanged funny banter as they began to play their own music from the Transylvanian concert, which they actually recorded in an abandoned opera house in Transylvania. These songs were filled with the impromptu nature of jazz, and a passion by the artists’ that could be seen and felt clearly. Maneri even attempted to create his own version of traditional Transylvanian folk music.

“I attempted to make this happy, but it just ended up being sad. But hey, I tried,” Maneri said.

The two of them wanted the attendees of the concert to have a great time and give them an experience they could walk away from differently than they came.

“I want the people to leave this with emotion. I want them to listen to these songs and feel true emotions,” Maneri said. “Too often we just let ourselves walk away from things without feeling anything. So tonight, I want people to walk away feelings strong emotions whether that be sad or happy. I want to evoke emotion in them.”