When Inna Faliks launched Music/Words five years ago in New York City, the concept was born out of her own inspiration from the literature she loved. The series brings together poets and musicians in performance, to find new creative energy and reach new audiences. The program has featured musicians like Chicago cellist Wendy Warner and pianist Leon Livshin, and poets like Mark Levine, Sandra Beasley, and Jesse Ball.
Next week Faliks brings her innovative program back to Chicago for a performance in conjunction with the PianoForte Foundation and the Poetry Foundation, which is celebrating 100 Years of Poetry Magazine. On Oct. 22, Faliks will be joined by poets Vera Pavlova and Valzhyna Mort for a fantastic evening. Chicago Music sat down with Inna to chat about her inspiration for the program.
Tell me a little bit more about the idea behind Music/Words.
I loved literature and it so inspired me and I believed we could find that inspiration between the arts in performance. This program challenges the audience and their imagination, and help musicians and poets to think beyond [their form] and get to know each other.
How do the collaborations work and what are some of the challenges?
The openness between artists has been just wonderful. Our collaborations always happen naturally. Poetry is very musical, but what you see on the page and how you may think it sounds when reading the poem, is not always what you hear out loud when it’s performed.
What is it about the piano that held your attention as an artist?
As a pianist, well it’s just something I’ve always done. I started performing early: my mother was one of my first teachers. I just always knew it was what I was going to do, even though it took an enormous amount of discipline and work.
What is it that makes you most passionate about music?
Music is the most mysterious of the arts. It’s so subjective because it’s passing. It’s happening in a moment in time. We give life to music that is greater than any of us. It’s the art of communication really. Art that draws people together and it’s profound, joyful, and about our humanity, and to be able to share that is a huge privilege.
You grew up here in Chicago. Any places you’re looking forward to visiting when you’re here?
It’s a great city. North Avenue Beach when it’s warmer, and Evanston has great little cafes, and Lincoln Park for its architecture, and downtown too. I love it.
Event details: Music/Words: Poetry off the Shelf, presented by the Poetry Foundation, on Monday, October 22, 7 pm at Curtiss Hall in the Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL. Admission is free. For more information, call (312) 787-7070.