A Virtual Collaboration: A Pianist & Bassist Performing with a Purpose
Spotlighting Artists & Scientists Sharing Why Music Matters in a Q&A Format every Thursday
Shanice Aaron & John Mietus, share perform a one of a kind piano & bass arrangements of JS Bach, Beethoven, & Chopin favorites on the Take it Easy Playlist dedicated to the UCLA School of Nursing on May 27th
Shanice and John, we are inspired by your unique collaboration and hunger to perform virtually to spread your message of hope and gratitude. We'd love to learn more about you as artists and contributors to making our community calmer and more at peace.
What is your background in music?
Shanice: I’m a classically trained pianist, I’ve been playing for over 15 years, and recently graduated UCLA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. My teacher Anli Lin Tong, from Juillard continues to inspire me. I’ve performed locally and internationally, the highlight of life was performing a concerto at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall and touring Europe.
Oddly enough, I’ve found these months in quarantine a time to expand my horizons and flourish as a musician. I’m venturing out of classical music and virtually collaborating with John has contributed to positive growth and versatility as a pianist.
John: I started playing double bass when I was 4, [ about 18 years ago]. My parents are both music teachers and started teaching me as soon as I could climb a step ladder to play double bass. I studied music at USC and now attend Rice University in Texas, virtually of course. I play music across many genres, I’ve toured with a folk punk band, briefly performed jazz, hip-hop, and also have experience in scoring/composing concert music, film music, and video games.
Who are you influenced by?
Shanice: JS Bach. Baroque music is my favorite to play and JS Bach brings an enriched German style with adaptations to rhythm, texture, and it’s really remarkable. During quarantine I’ve been playing a lot of Bach and I just feel so connected to his music. His music is about God, forgiving, and it’s easy to connect to what we are feeling right now due to COVD19. With Bach we can all send a message to each other.
John: You, my beloved listener, if a tree fell in a forest, would it matter? All jokes aside, I appreciate you, this is what I do, without you, there would be no justification for my madness.
What is something different you bring to your performance?
Shanice: Piano and bass is a very unique duo combo which is not often seen in concerts. John stands out, he’s incredibly melodic and I think the audience will be engaged with his sound. Our selected pieces are emotional, easy to connect with, and we are so excited to create something remotely together.
John: I’m most immersed when I perform. I throw myself wholeheartedly into the music. When I’m performing, my greatest hope is that we are there together, that my music reaches both me and the listeners’ ears and hearts.
Music for me is a way to raise the collective spirit. It is a collective experience, we all crave constantly, especially now.
What is one memorable collaboration you were a part of?
Shanice: All collaborations are special to me, the two most special are, first performing at the Hawaii Chamber Music Festival. It really was a dream come true to perform in my hometown.
The next special collaboration is this one with John. I’ve really expanded my abilities to perform non-classical pieces and collaborate virtually. A bonus performance collaboration was only a few days ago, on May 19th, I had the privilege to perform at the LA Emergency Management Department for healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVD19. It was my dream to perform during this quarantine.
John: This one, with the lovely Shanice, and playing in the Los Angeles conductorless ensemble, Kaleidoscope. I look back on it very fondly.
What attracted you to be featured for Mindful Music?
Shanice: I’m inspired by Dalida and others working for the organization. Dalida invites great musicians working hard and motivates me to work hard. During quarantine, my goal has been to perform for healthcare workers. I wanted to find ways to send messages of hope to them through music and Mindful Music is a perfect outlet to connect and to do so. On May 19th, I had the privilege to perform at the LA Emergency Management Department for healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVD19. It was my dream to perform to do that during this quarantine.
John: I greatly admire the drive and ability of Mindful Music to feature artists, conscious artists. I’m genuinely honored to be featured.
What do you hope to say through your music?
Shanice: For musicians our job is to send messages helping audiences feel comfortable and now listening at home. Composers share emotional depth and I hope to communicate that in my performances.
John: I want you know to know as a listener, you deserve better, we deserve to live in a place of empathy, I can rest my head at night knowing that my existence and music convinces you of this.
What is your goal as an artist?
Shanice: I hope for audiences to feel emotionally connected to my performance. I’m aiming to get my graduate degree and hope to tour the world as a performer.
John: I hope to shed light on inequality and injustice. All people deserve health care and a living wage. I deeply feel now more than ever it's all the more reason to keep these topics right at the forefront of our conversations.
Interview conducted & written by Dalida Arakelian