St. Olaf music professor releases her fifth album, ‘Brave New Worlds’
St. Olaf College Associate Professor of Music Francesca Anderegg has released her fifth album, Brave New Worlds: Music from the Americas. The album features music from 19th and 20th century composers who considered themselves “citizens of the world” in their international travels to collect influences from varying music genres to add to their own compositions.
Anderegg, who holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and master’s and doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, is a fierce advocate for new music. She has performed at many renowned venues, including Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Itzhak Perlman and members of the Perlman Music Program. Additionally, Anderegg has toured throughout Brazil as a United States Embassy–sponsored Artistic Ambassador. While there, she performed for the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil with pianist Erika Ribeiro.
Associate Professor of Music Francesca Anderegg has performed at many renowned venues, including Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Itzhak Perlman and members of the Perlman Music Program. Additionally, she has toured throughout Brazil as a United States Embassy–sponsored Artistic Ambassador.
An enthusiastic educator, Anderegg teaches violin students in her studio at St. Olaf, and has also taught at Interlochen Center for the Arts, a prestigious fine arts boarding school and music camp in Interlochen, Michigan.
“Since I’m always preparing for a concert, I’m always thinking of fresh ways to approach the process of practicing and performing. Thus, I’m better equipped to help students find variety and keep moving forward when they are feeling stuck,” Anderegg says.
To mark the release of Brave New Worlds, Minnesota Public Radio’s Your Classical program interviewed Anderegg about the album and her experiences while recording.
Beginning with Pampeana No. 1 by Argentine composer Alberto Ginasters, Anderegg depicts the grasslands (pampas) of Argentina through free-flowing cadenza passages followed by a fast dance inspired by the gauchos — the nomadic horsemen who populated the Argentine and Uruguayan grasslands. Anderegg also incorporates Sonata-Fantasia No. 1 by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos on the album.
The album also features works by revolutionary American composers. Aaron Copland’s Duo for Violin and Piano was originally written for piano and flute, but was arranged by Anderegg’s teacher Robert Mann, a founding member of The Juilliard String Quartet. The rarely recorded Violin Sonata Op. 34 by American composer Amy Beach is known for its range of textures and harmonies that rival the well-known Romantic works in the Western canon. Though Beach’s works aren’t performed as regularly as other American compositions, she is known as the first successful female composer of large-scale art music, even having works premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Anderegg programmed this album intentionally in accordance with her interests in exploring geographic and social expansion in music. Having an “inner-depth” in terms of their musical language and their application to the composers’ lives was another driving factor in choosing what compositions would be included on the album. For Anderegg, the idea of “inner-depth” and additional artistic meaning also applies to Copland’s Duo for Violin and Piano. This composition is particularly meaningful for Anderegg to perform and record because of her experience studying with Mann.
“My teacher, Robert Mann, had a sense of humor. When I look at this arrangement and some of the chords, especially the chords in the first movement, there’s a series of three chords that sound like the last part of the piece followed by silence. Those chords are so true to what I knew of his sense of humor. He enjoyed music that was sometimes abrupt, a little bit funny or had a punchy quality to it. I also enjoy music when it’s a little bit unexpected,” Anderegg tells MPR.
Listen here to the extended version of MPR’s Your Classical’s interview with Anderegg for more stories about her experience preparing for and recording this album.