Dr. Immanuel T. Abraham (DMA ’18, Violin Performance) has produced “24 Caprices for Solo Violin,” a collection of advanced repertoires for unaccompanied violin written between 2010 and 2020.
During his degree studies, he served simultaneously as the Concertmaster of the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra under Dr. Thomas Cockrell, and the Arizona Contemporary Ensemble under Dr. Daniel Asia, who was also his composition professor. His dissertation was titled “J.S. Bach’s Chaconne: A Performer-Composer’s Approach to Interpretation.”
For 10 years, Abraham worked to complete a book of advanced violin repertoire reflecting the musical globalism and diversity of the 21st century.
The number of works is a tribute to four violin performer-composers whose works Abraham studied, performed, and taught: Pierre Gaviniès (1728-1800), Jaques Pierre Joseph Rode (1774-1830), Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), and Jakob Dont (1815-1888). Each wrote a collection of 24 caprices for solo violin as well.
The 68-page compilation revives the 24-caprice tradition, which ended with Dont’s effort 170 years ago.
While preparing the book, Abraham performed in large rock-concert amphitheaters, yoga summits, juried doctoral-recitals, American String Teacher’s Association conferences, livestream events in Nigeria, live solo sound tracking for theaters and film festivals, and more.
“For those engagements and many more, I wrote and performed my own music,” he said. “That process immediately granted the realization of my most authentic output as a musician— my 24 caprices for solo violin. As such, all of them are very personal, and an ever-deepening experience to perform.
“This collection contains clear influences of the baroque (3 fugues), romanticism, impressionism, jazz, American fiddle, rock, tango, and more. These are all new, tonal, and eclectic compositions that purposefully fill gaps I experienced in the extant solo violin repertoire.”
Inspired by Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street
Abraham grew up with violence in the inner city of Chicago. He was inspired to play the violin after seeing master violinist Itzhak Perlman playing on a children’s show. At 14, his mother came across a newspaper ad announcing free music lessons.
“I really feel that music saved my life,” Abraham told AZPM’s Arizona Illustrated. “It gave me a place to be; it gave me a safe environment, allowed me to be heard … it saved me on many levels. So, I have no issue giving my life back to music, it’s a debt of gratitude, if nothing else.”
The PBS station recorded Abraham playing his violin on Mount Lemmon.