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,3 i., ,
d unusual path. to Philharmonic
By KAREN ROWLEY
T" OR many people, the word virtuoso conjures up
j". an image of some poor soul slaving over a piano
night and day for years and then receiving little
recognition. Jon Deak, a double-bass virtuoso with the
New York Philharmonic, belies that stereotype. From
the musical instrument he plays to the compositions
he creates, Deak has followed an unconventional path.
Deak will be in concert tonight with the UNC music
department's New Music Ensemble, under the
direction of music professor Roger Hannay.
The path from Gary, Ind., to the
Philharmonic was by no means a straight one
for Deak. He studied piano until his teens,
when other activities like baseball became
more interesting, he said. Deak said he took
up the bass when he was 17 because the
school orchestra needed one.
"I was on the wrestling team at the time
and was worried about getting my fingers
mashed," he said. For a while it was a contest
between his wrestling coach and music
teacher, he said, and the teacher finally won
The frontier aspect of the bass and its
undefined nature appealed to him, Deak
said. "Nobody played it that well at the time.
The bass is a little backwoodsy. The trumpet
and violin are big city, like New York and
Chicago. The bass is like a Hudson Bay.
On his way to the Philharmonic, Deak was
a free-lance musician in New York, taught
school and toured for a while with a country
and western band, the Prairie Oysters. "Our
flyer said we played everywhere from
Carnegie Hall to sleazy wharfside bars to the
streets," he said. '
Deak did his undergraduate work at
Juilliard School in New York and obtained
his master's degree from the University of
Illinois. He later studied at St. Cecelia's Conservatory
in Rome on a Fulbright scholarship.
Besides his reputation as a virtuoso double-bassist,
Deak is widely acclaimed as a composer. "The
Philharmonic is a good job for pursuing composition
the creative side of the profession," Deak said. "I'm
exposed to music every day and it leaves my head very
clear to write.
"The bass serves as a prop in my work' he said. "It's
my sidekick, like Charlie McCarthy was for Edgar
Bergen." Because it's undefined, the bass can be
adapted for any type of music a symphony
orchestra, a jazz band, even rock bands, Deak said.
"It's very versatile, except in the subway."
Deak said composition had been his main focus
since school. "I'm trying in a lot of pieces to bring an
environment to the audience. Sometimes it's a story or
sometimes it's just an image."
Almost all of Deak's works are whimsical in tone,
Hannay said. In both content and their amusing tone,
Deak's compositions fall outside the current trends in
modern music, he said.
Jon Desk, left, and New York Philharmonic Music Director Zubln f.'chta
... Deak will perform at 8:1 5 tonight in Hill Hall rehearsal hall.
The featured work in the concert wili be
Deak's "Passion Be My Destiny," a parody of
a 1940s radio drama in which the
instruments take on the roles of the
characters of the story. The text is not
spoken, but is played by the instruments,
Hannay said. '
The composition is a wartime love story
with the villain played by the bass, the hero
by the cello and the heroine by the violin,
Deak said. "The composition has the
technical trappings of new music and some
good, old-fashioned melodrama," he said.
peak's appearance with the New Music
Ensemble is part of a long tradition of
composer concerts, Hannay said. For the
past 10 years, the ensemble has held one or
two concerts each year with visiting
The ensemble has two basic functions,
Hannay said It plays the newest musicTof
the modern composers and it performs the
compositions of the student composers in
the UNC music department, he said.
Deak said he enjoyed working with
student ensembles. "I like to work with
school ensembles because my approach (to
music) doesn't require world-class virtuosos,
but players who are flexible and interested in
music and willing to have fun," he said. 0
Animated films have social orientation,
special message, creator Hubley says
Dy ANN PETERS
FAITH Hubley may have a tradition of filmmakers
behind her and her works but her creations are not
conventional. Hubley, an artist and filmmaker, has
"been a creator of award-winning feature and short films for
more than 25 years. Together with her late husband, John
Hubley, she has created, directed and produced more than 23
"There's a whole tradition that's not understood in this
country the whole tradition of fine arts," Hubley said. "The
range of animated film made for adult and experienced eyes
Hubley said the majority of the works in international
animated film festivals are not Saturday morning cartoons.
The main difference between cartoons and animated films is
in the theme of the films, she said.
"Some of these animated films have more of a social
orientation." she said. "The difference for me is that there is a
whole different type of exposure that, is very intense. The
satisfaction is very profound when the work that you have
done is looked at, well accepted, and a contribution.
"A lot of young filmmakers are coming out and exploring
the short the way a writer would view a short novel. We're not
a machine. We're artists that initiate."
Hubley said the making of animated films is a world
movement. "It can be a personal medium as well as a
The making of an animated film is a creative process,
Hubley said. "I try to make one film a year. .There is a
gestation period for the new idea. I see what I'm attracted
tO." ' . .
Hubley is currently working on a film that deals with the
legends of stars and what meanings they have as seen from
the point of views of different cultures.
Hubley will present an hour of films especially for viewing
by children and parents from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday,
April 4 in Murphy 111. A discussion with Hubley will follow.
The films include "Windy Day," a visualization of a child's
view of love, death and marriage; "Cockaboody", an
exploration of a child's growing adjustment to reality;
"Moonbird," "a magical adventure" that captures the
wonder of a child's world; and "Step by Step," a film that
asks the audience to take the first step toward assuring the
basic rights of food, health, love and learning to all children
of the world.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m . also in Murphy 111, will be films for
everyone including, "A Doonesbury Special," "Everybody
Rides The Carousel." "WOW" (Women of the World), and
"Big Bang and Other Creation Myths". jw"
Weekender, March 26, 1981