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Q&A with Mandolinist Chris Thile

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Tuesday October 29, 2013

From The Daily Tar Heel

Q&A with Mandolinist Chris Thile
By: Allison Hussey

Chris Thile is a mandolinist who can’t be pinned down by any convenient musical description. He’s collaborated with fellow label-defying masters like bassist Edgar Myer and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, in addition to leading the band Punch Brothers. His most recent project is a collection of Bach partitas and sonatas that were originally written for violin.Diversions Editor Allison Hussey talked to Thile about the project’s ins and outs.

Daily Tar Heel: What pieces did you find to be the most difficult to work out?

Chris Thile: The B Minor is quite a bear in that it presents some unique challenges. It can be tiresome to listen to, because in a sense, it’s eight movements. In my performance, I’m really trying to make it feel more like four. The piece is constructed in four movements, but each movement has a double that’s essentially Bach expanding on the material he presented in the movement. It’s also quite long — it’s 25 minutes — so, there’s a lot of things that I feel like I needed to do to make that a little more easily digested. So that one was tricky. That one was really tricky.

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