Muscian Jace Vek: Arts Garage’s New Experience
Jace Vek is… Jace Vek. If you haven’t heard his music, when you do, you will hear – that’s not a strong enough word. You will experience the living sound of an amazing artist whose virtuosity races from the first note he plays to the grand finale and encore and the subsequent moments as you reclaim your ears and your soul. Maybe that’s why the Arts Garage in Delray Beach lists his performances as “The Jace Vek Experience.”
Watching and listening to Vek perform is intense. Even the adagio moments are breath-bating interludes to the next outburst of excited, exciting music. Surprisingly, it’s never bombastic yet there’s the sense of a demon screaming for release from the thousands of caresses of Vek’s fingers on the Kawai’s keys.
Vek uses a digital system to accompany his piano artistry. “Not a synthesizer,” he responded to the question. “The application has recorded and stored the sound of every instrument though its entire range and I can call on those sounds to be played with me. It’s very much like creating an orchestral score.”
Originally from Pittsburgh, Vek now lives in Delray Beach. With a shock of blond hair and a disingenuous smile, the two-time Emmy winner looks more the part of a rock performer/surfer than a serious classical composer/musician. But it’s all part of the “experience” as is his sharing life stories and insights with the audience.
Two particularly poignant pieces he described were a composition he wrote for his mother when she was suffering from emphysema, and another that he wrote to honor his fiancée who supported him through his recovery from severe head injuries after a violent assault.
Vek also shared a new melody that has been “running through my mind all day,” and he “roughed out” an improvisation of a piece that may ultimately become part of his repertory, further sharing his experience of hearing and responding to his muse.
In the second half of the concert, Vek shared the stage with cellist Jonah Kim who doesn’t just play the instrument, he becomes part of it. They opened the session with the traditional Bach-Gounod Ave Maria. The cello played the Gounod melody and you could almost hear the instrument taking breaths between the lines of the Latin prayer.
The joint concert ended in a display of musical mastery àla Dueling Banjos that left the audience breathless and on its feet.
Born in Seoul, Kim emigrated to the US at seven and, at 23, has already gleaned a name as a prize-winning cellist who has been referred to as “the next Yo-Yo-Ma.” A graduate of the Julliard School of Music, he has performed around the country and been featured in a number of radio and TV programs.
Vek will be back at the Arts Garage on Nov 19, Dec 17 and Jan 21 – the third Saturday of the month. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience this wonderful new space, visit www.delraybeacharts.org and find something you want to see or hear then grab some tickets and go! And don’t forget the “female illusionists” on the last Sunday of every month and the BYOW (bring your own whatever) to enjoy at cabaret tables while experiencing some of the best of the arts in South Florida.