Adam Summerhayes

me, travel... and chaos theory

"Stunningly virtuosic...incredible facility and control." All Things Strings USA
(Click for review)
"Stunningly virtuostic... incredible facility and control."
...The album features compositions by Adam Summerhayes, the group’s stunningly virtuosic leader, and by it's guest jazz pianist and harpsichordist David Gordon. The writing features many solos, and allows Summerhayes many opportunities to display his incredible facility and control of the topmost register. Yet, despite all the bravura, he always sounds as if he were improvising rather than merely showing off. This disc is a must both for lovers of Latin music and of singularly spectacular string playing. —Edith Eisler

Review in "All Things Strings" magazine US. Piazzolla and Beyond,  London Concertante. (Harmonia Mundi)
It wasn't clear to me, as I first played duets with my grandfather, that this would lead directly to the foot of an Alaskan glacier, a breakfast date with a Navajo jeweller; or being tailed by an Arizonan border patrol high up a rough mountain road, alone in a large and totally unsuitable vehicle at 7am. Chaos theory and the law of un-intended consequences in action, perhaps.
"A riveting, dramatic and even sexy listen." BBC
(Click for review)
In the classical world, Astor Piazzolla was a one-off... London Concertante perform six of his works alongside four new compositions by their violinist leader Adam Summerhayes and pianist/composer David Gordon. If you’re susceptible to tango overload then it probably isn’t for you, but you’d missing out on a riveting, dramatic, even sexy listen (and how often do you read that word in a classical review?) ...the percussive effects are created with their bows and fiddles, and the result is electric...As for the new works, they’re a perfect fit, whether in close stylistic homage such as Summerhayes’ sombre When Churchyards Yawn, or a step further away such as Gordon’s Augmented Tango.
The final track, Summerhayes’ El Desposeido, is an “exercise in the compositional art of crescendo” that works reflections of the opening Libertango towards a devastating and gripping climax. London Concertante demonstrates extraordinary versatility for a classical ensemble, with a sound that would feel as appropriate in a smoky jazz bar or Argentine tango club as it would in a concert hall. Their skill is summed up in Michaelangelo 70, a dramatic performance of feather-light virtuosity that is so tightly together that it would feel inhuman if there weren’t so much soul in the playing.

(Charlotte Gardner BBC online)
Other unexpected consequences include a shin full of cactus spines and huge purple troll ears (the result of the early stages of frostbite). Perhaps less unexpected have been some enormously enjoyable gigs - chamber music in the Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre; concertos in huge halls in Germany and the Czech Republic. But, then again, I didn't imagine that years of intensive classical training would lead to Ronnie Scott's in London, a hard rock joint in Helsinki; or standing around, dressed as a 19th century gypsy fiddler, in Richmond Park, breathing strange fumes and woodsmoke and watching exceedingly famous actors go though the same scene endlessly.

Nor did I predict that learning to play the fiddle and write music could be a challenge to current concepts about green issues. 30,000+ miles a year in this country alone, though, paint a different picture - and what about air travel?

My great-grandmother was a vociferous opponent of air travel – she was convinced planes were ruining our climate. The comment “Silly old woman” does not seem as appropriate now as it did in 1978. She would not be impressed to know how many of those con-trails have come from planes carrying me across the Atlantic.
Chaos theory (Click, perhaps...)
Since chaos theory tells us that the smallest changes to initial conditions have a huge effect on the outcome, it is interesting to speculate what my career would have been like had I started the violin on a different day of the week. Would I be the first violinist to be an A-list celebrity? Or would I be organising a multi-national attempt to play the Four Seasons at the North Pole dressed in clothes made from re-cycled paper?

"Silly, silly, silly - but magnificently so!" Fenella Humphries, fellow violinist
Provisional reality? (Click for unexpected facts)
Did you know that, until ridiculously recently, mathematicians were perfectly happy that one particular deterministic equation would, when solved, always yield a result that, after several iterations, normalised at 0.5? So, it was a “fact” that all such equations would function like this and predictions could be made accordingly - fully tested, you might imagine? But no. If you begin by changing one of the main values from 2 to 4 , it completely breaks down and, after an initial period, consequent solutions oscillate between two different values. It wasn't such a factual fact after all – and it gets worse. Vary that initial value of 4 by .0001 and suddenly the solutions spiral out of control and never repeat: CHAOS.

Looking on the bright side, those who like definite answers at least now know why the weather forecast has a tendency to mislead.