A New Music Marathon, new performance videos, and a recipe from Stephanie

A New Music Marathon TOMORROW NIGHT, Contemporary and Baroque music videos, and Turkish Red Lentil Soup!

Photo by John Gurrin: Quarantine Fashion in the Bronx with Stephanie

Dear friends,

How are you all holding up at home these days?

The Momenta Quartet just posted the second of its “Composers at Home” interviews on the Momenta website with a lovely interview with our dear friend and long-time collaborator, Elizabeth Brown.

Meanwhile, a number of you (including me!) had trouble accessing our concert of Spanish Baroque music with Sebastian Zubieta’s choir, Meridionalis. It is now archived on YouTube here.
Personally, I have been pretty busy by quarantine standards – meaning I engage in an average of one to two activities per day other than eating, sleeping and cooking. (Please scroll down to the bottom of this email for one of my favorite recipes…)

You can see a number of the fruits of those activities online this week, starting TOMORROW night with the Orlando-based Timucua Arts Foundation’s Accidental Music Festival:

Saturday, May 30 from 7:30pm EST to midnight (I am opening the festival, right at 7:30pm)

To watch this event you need to reserve a ticket at this link:


There are 2 options on the same page – the first is by donation (and you can donate as little as $1), and below it is an option for a free ticket.

After reserving, you will receive emails 24 hours before and 2 hours before the event with the link to enjoy this private stream.

I am participating as the violist of the Ensemble Ipse, which is the opening “act” of this online festival, which otherwise would have been down in Florida, where I don’t think many of you live! My viola set is first on the Ipse portion of the concert – so, you can watch me right at 7:30, with solo pieces by Arthur Kampela, Kee Yong Chong and Tony Prabowo, and a special arrangement of Errol Garner’s “Misty” with jazz bassist Hilliard Greene.

I am SUPER EXCITED about this event and have already bought my ticket.

Here is the line-up (in order – very approximate timings):

Ensemble Ipse: 7:30 to circa 8:40
Stephanie Griffin, viola (with guest bassist Hilliard Greene)
Margaret Lancaster, flute
Geoffrey Burleson, piano
Caleb van der Swaagh, cello

8:40: Nicole Miglis
9:10: M. Lamar
9:22: Brianna Matzke
9:42: null-state
10:02: Dustin Wong 
10:22: Vicky Chow
10:37: Dave Lebleu
11:02: Elizabeth A. Baker
11:10: Sarah Cahill

Reserve your tickets now!

(But if you are a bit later, I was told that you can get tickets up until 11pm the day of the show.)
As many of you know, I was also very excited about being one of three featured composers on Abby London Crawford’s annual “Celebrating Women Composers” series in March. 

That concert will be rescheduled for some time next season, but in the mean time, my favorite pianist/composer Gordon Beeferman made a video premiere of the solo piano piece I wrote for him at the Instituto Sacatar in Brazil last summer, “Garota de Itaparica” (The Girl from Itaparica). 

His performance will be posted on the Americas Society website this coming Monday, June 1 at 10am EST as part of their “Americas en Casa” series at this link, which will be active on Monday.

If you cannot make 10am EST (kind of early if you are in Vancouver, for example), it will be up on that web page for a week and then will be archived on the Americas Society’s YouTube channel, where you can also watch my home video of Telemann’s Fantasia no. 7.
This is already quite a long newsletter and I commend all of you who have read this far!

Since I have started a tradition of sharing recipes in these letters, I will close with one of my all-time favorite recipes, which I found on the Turkish Ministry of Culture website after obsessing over the incredibly delicious red lentil soup I was eating at every little restaurant or food truck there on my one and only trip to Istanbul about 15 years ago. The recipe is not on that website any more, so I am glad I copied it out! And by the way – if you cannot get “biber” (smoky Turkish red pepper flakes) you can use regular crushed red pepper flakes…if you live in NYC and can get to Kalustyan’s (on Lexington and 28th) they have EVERY KIND OF BIBER you can imagine. (Biber is also a great Baroque composer. If you do not know him, check out his “Rosary Sonatas” for violin. Emilie played one of them at the Momenta Festival almost three years ago.)

Here is the recipe, copied verbatim from the website, with some very important notes from my experience below it:
Sample Dishes From Turkish Cousine [sic]

Stephanie’s all-time favourite recipe, courtesy of the
Ministry of Culture Turkey by Province Agenda Art and Culture           

Red Lentil-Bulgur Soup
      Red split lentils 1/2 cup (90 gr)
      Bulgur 1/3 cup (50 gr)
      Water  6 cups (1200 gr)
      Onion  1 small size (30 gr)
      Salt 23 teaspoon?(sic!) (12 gr): DEFINITELY NOT!!! SEE NOTE BELOW.
      Butter or margarine  4 tablespoon (40 gr)
      Flour 2 tablespoons (12 gr)
     Tomato paste  2 tablespoon (20 gr)
      Mint 1 1/2 tablespoons (2 gr)
      Red pepper 1/2 teaspoon (1 gr): SEE NOTE BELOW.
      Lemon juice 2 tablespoons (20 gr)


Combine red split lentils and bulgur in a saucepan. Add water and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Remove scum with a perforated spoon. Stir in chopped onion. Season with salt. Simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils and onion are tender. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet. Stir in flour blending well. Brown lightly. Add tomato paste, crushed mint and red pepper; mix well. Sprinkle over soup. Serve hot with lemon juice.  
Servings: 6

Regional Characteristics:
This soup comes from the Southeast of Anatolia. However it is cooked in all parts of the country.

My Commentary: I always assumed the 23 teaspoons of salt was a misprint – but now I see that it also translates into 12 grams.  What is 12 grams of salt?  Maybe 2-3 teaspoons? From my experience the Turkish do like this soup salty – but I would be more conservative – I just do the salt “to taste.”

Similarly, I have experimented with a bit less water.  The soup should be quite thin – but maybe start with 5 cups of water (or even 4.5) and add more if it seems to get to thick and porridge-like.

As for the “Red Pepper,” what they really mean is Turkish Biber.  If you can’t find it, red pepper flakes are pretty close.  Or go to a Korean or Chinese grocery and look for their version of red pepper, which is even closer.

For a more “heart-smart” version, I have done this with a mix of butter and olive oil, and for vegans, it is also excellent with just olive oil instead of butter. (Honestly, the butter makes it very good, though.) 
That’s all folks!

I hope you are all staying well and that we will be able to see each other soon.

Best wishes and happy listening, watching, and cooking,