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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 6, 1997)
sees music as
By Patrick Kelly
While languages and customs vary from coun
try to country, the one true constant has always
been music, says violinist Christian Tetzlaff.
“Many basic aspects are the same," he said.
“Whatever differences there are, music allows me
to communicate with different musicians from dif
The German virtuoso brings his musical
ambassadorship to the Lied Center for Performing
Arts Sunday as the featured soloist in
Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto.”
Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Deutsches
Symphonie Orchester Berlin will accompany the
The Lied Center is one of only eight venues
Tetzlaff and the orchestra will perform in on the
At age 31, Tetzlaff has achieved considerable
success and notoriety for interpreting works of
great technical difficulty.
Bom in Hamburg, Germany, his interest in
music began when he took up the violin and piano
at age 6, eventually opting for the former. At age
14, he made his professional debut performing
Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto” with his youth
orchestra. That same year, he began studies that
would eventually take him to the Cincinnati
In 1988, Tetzlaff embarked on an international
career placing him with orchestras from all over
Europe and the United States.
inrougnout ms proressionai journeys, leizian
has been at the helm. While classical musicians
requires a disciplined understanding of the pieces
they play, Tetzlaff says he finds no difficulty in
making each piece his own.
Unlike other musicians who would move on to
conducting and composing, Tetzlaff said he pre
ferred to remain a soloist.
“I feel that I have more room to play the piece
the way I want to,” he said.
Although Tetzlaff performs worldwide, he
tries not to stray far from home. Music has always
been an integral part of his family life. However,
the role of performing has always been one that
Tetzlaff has kept in perspective.
Having begun his career at age 14 - later than
most musicians - Tetzlaff learned to prioritize his
life early on. He puts his role as a father ahead of
his career as an entertainer, he said.
Amazingly, he has found a way to balance his
career with an active home life.
He tours no more tlian two weeks at a time so
as not to be away from his three children. When at
home, he does not practice, but gives his children
his undivided attention.
“My family gives me a great feeling of securi- ;
ty.” Tetzlaff said. “I have strong emotional ties that
keep me at home.”
Tetzlaff’s passion will live on with his music
and his children. Just as he has spread his influence
in music, Tetzlaff said he welcomed the chance to
share his gift with his children.
“As a musician, I would love to give them the
opportunity to learn an instrument. It is the perfect
Tickets forTetzlaff’s 7:30 p.m. Sunday perfor
mance are $42, $38, $34 and half-price for stu
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTIAN TETZEAFF
GERMAN VIOLINIST Christian Tetzlaff will perform Sunday with the Deutsches-Symphonie Orchester Berlin.
Fans ex‘toH’ diverse band
By Sean McCarthy
Playing butt-bumping music with a posi
tive message, Atoll will perform tonight at the
Zoo Bar, 136N. 14th St.
The group’s near-unclassifiable blend of
rock, reggae and American Indian music has
made Atoll one of the most talked-about
bands of the Midwest.
Lead singer and guitarist Cary Morin
played in other bands in Montana before mov
ing to Fort Collins, Colo., in the mid-1980s.
Getting together in 1991, the A-Toll was a
three-piece band, made up of bassist Wes
Heilman and drummer Ron Plewacki. The
two left the band because touring got too
demanding for them.
Morin moved on, changing the band’s
name to Atoll and hiring new members in late
1996. The new lineup includes percussionist
Peter Knudson, drummer Crip Erickson and
bassist Craig Fowler. Two other members of
Atoll, Benito Concha and rapper Julian B
work with the band when they’re not touring
outside of Fort Collins, Morin said.
Morin said he was happy with the new
lineup. Expanding to a four-piece band gave
Atoll a bigger sound on the road Morin said.
“They all caught on to the sound really
well, and we’ve been able to improve on the
sound” he said.
Morin paid his dues growing up in
Montana before moving to ’olorado. His
father was in the Air Force, forcing his many
moves. On the various bases he lived Morin
was exposed to different cultures from various
areas of the world he said.
“That was really cool,” Morin said. “It’s
good to grow up with a respect for people
from different cultures.”
In Montana, Morin played with various
bluegrass, rock and heavy metal bands. Living
in Montana posed a problem when it came to
finding music from different genres, though.
“Montana was very inaccessible when it
came to styles of music,” Morin said.
Moving to Colorado helped establish a
music career for Morin. In Fort Collins,
Morin began playing acoustic solo sets at
Linden’s nightclub. On some of those nights
he played with other musicians. It was there
that Morin began to realize the allure of a
“The power of a band vs. one guy with a
guitar .... ” Morin said. “I can make more
noise this way.”
As a trio, Atoll formed a huge following in
Fort Collins. The band was chosen “Best
Band" of 1994 by the local newspaper. Morin
shrugged off the award’s impact on the band.
“When you’re touring outside Colorado,
you find out that being the best band in Ft.
Collins doesn’t mean that much from people
who don’t live there,” he said.
Connecting strongly to the band, Morin
said his strongest ties came from being a Crow
“It’s my life,” Morin said. “There’s no
other way for me to write or perform.”
Though Morin does address American
Indian issues, he prefers not to preach to the
audience, he said.
“We write a decent number of love songs,
songs about life experiences and songs about
tribal autonomy, w'hich is something I advo
cate,” Morin said.
Morin’s strong spirituality helped him
through a period of substance abuse in the
mid-1980s. He attributed his excessive drink
ing as a downfall of being in his mid-20s.
“You really have to know your limits, and
I lost sight of mine.”
Morin decided to give up drinking in
1990. He gave up on his own, without the help
of a treatment program.
“1 just got to a point that 1 didn’t enjoy
(drinking) anymore,” he said.
Touring in bars may not be the best place
to be when you’ve stopped drinking, but
Morin said it didn’t bother him personally.
What does is seeing people lose control when
they’ve had too much, he said.
“Different people do different things when
they drink too much,” Morin said.
Morin said he, tried to keep everything that
has happened to him in focus, though.
“Drunk or sober, I try to give people the
respect they deserve,” Morin said.
On stage, Atoll is as unpredictable as its
audiences’ members. The band prefers to have
no set list before hitting the stage.
“We keep rolling along with very vague
guidelines,” Monn said.
The band will take the stage at the Zoo Bar
tonight at 9. Tickets are $3 and available at the
We write a decent number of love songs, songs
about life experiences and songs about tribal
autonomy, which is something I advocate."
lead singer and guitarist of Atoll
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