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Work Samples

Baker Artists Work Sample

This is my work sample, a video containing clips of the different music projects I am engaged in. *Please listen with headphones!* Thank you for your consideration!

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About Louna

Baltimore City

Louna Dekker-Vargas's picture
 Louna is a flute soloist, collaborative artist, and advocate for new and experimental music in her chamber projects--The Witches, and Trio Jinx. She is a flexible sound artist, deploying her flute and voice with skill and grace in a variety of genres. She also plays piccolo, alto flute and bass flute. She received classical training at Peabody Institute under flute soloist Marina Piccinini, as well as new music and improvisational specialized training from Courtney Orlando (Alarm Will... more

New Music

New music to me is primarily a living art, defined by today's practicing composers, and collaborating artists. What is most exciting to me is that in this landscape, the flute can embody a much wider spectrum of personalities and sensations than in traditional Western flute repertoire. In this world, the pure, golden tone that we strive for in the classical idiom is but one among many iterations of breath that one can think of:

Inhale. Exhale. That single breath can be exuberant and athletic, or dry and thin, luxurious and sensual, or skittering away, simply frightened out of its wits, and all of this can be shown on the flute with different techniques. The quality of our breath is intimately tied to our psychological and emotional experience, from moment to moment. I have worked alongside new music composers, improvised, and begun composing myself in order to hone and develop this palette of breath personalities. The flute, after all, is just a tube, so the bulk of the work is in developing theatrical and expressive ideas that I can then find a way to transmit through the instrument. My new music projects include: Playing contemporary solo repertoire on flute, my duo The Witches, playing in contemporary ensembles such as Now Hear This, Ensemble 4'33'', and Trio Jinx.

To check out The Witches in more detail visit: www.witchtunes.com
To check out Trio Jinx in more detail visit: www.triojinxmusic.com

  • The Witches - Ah

    My first composition and music video. In writing this I wanted to work with minimal sonic material and imitate the contraction and expansion of molecules by having them rub against each other. For the music video I wanted to create a kind of still life with minimal narrative movement to go with the slow buildup in the music. Performed by The Witches (myself and Ledah Finck). Recorded in Griswold Hall, Peabody Institute, by Anthony Staiti and Richard Grouser III.
  • Louna-Berio Sequenza per flauto solo

    Sequenza for solo flute was composed by Italian composer Luciano Berio in 1958. This incredibly dynamic and complex piece is notated graphically, with rhythms indicated by their spacing across the page and in relation to each other, instead of traditional western rhythmic notation . By using this nontraditional notation, the composer invited spontaneity and improvisation in how to perform the piece, allowing for a wide range of interpretations, from performance to performance.
  • Vim - The Witches

    This was the first piece commissioned by The Witches. It was composed by Sean William Calhoun. We recorded it in Griswold Hall, Peabody Institute, with Edwin Huet. This piece began our exploration of overlapping treble voices and instruments, finding the music in small intervallic relationships and interlocking rhythms. As a duo we have enjoyed working closely with composers to dream up ways that the flute and violin and our vocals can interact.
  • BTC album.jpg

    "Behind the Curtain: New Music on Women" grew out of an interest in exploring and celebrating the complex roles that women have performed in and for the arts. The exalted positions of creator and interpreter (composer and performer) have historically been discouraged in women. However, many women gave crucial support and encouragement to the rising artists of their times, and if they lacked the social space to break public artistic grounds themselves, they did have a profound impact in the development of their arts communities through their choices in mentorship and support.

Classical

I am a classically trained flutist, with a Bachelor of Arts in Flute Performance from Peabody Institute, where I studied with Marina Piccinini. While at Peabody, I also studied orchestral playing Laurie Sokoloff (piccolo) and Emily Skala (principal flutist of the BSO). My classical training included learning to play in baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary styles. Upon graduating from Peabody Institute I received the Grace Clagett Prize for Chamber Music for my dedication to chamber music while at Peabody. I was also principal flute for several seasons with the Peabody Concert Orchestra, Peabody Modern Orchestra, and Now Hear This! ensemble (the school's premier contemporary ensemble). While studying this rarified, beautiful practice of classical flute, I have strived to bring my music to spaces other than ivory towers, often playing excerpts and flute solos on street corners during my travels, and bringing my chamber groups to unorthodox spaces. My trio (Trio Jinx) is classical at its core, playing works by Erwin Schulhoff, and our arrangements of Bela Bartok violin duets. We bring the precision and rigor of classical practice to meet dance-hall like energy, performing in a spectrum of venues from concert halls to local wine bars. Since classical music is part of my everyday landscape of sounds, it has always made sense to me to bring those sounds to everyday spaces in engaging ways, particularly for chamber music, which is all about human interaction.

To check out Trio Jinx in more detail visit: www.triojinxmusic.com

  • Syrinx -Claude Debussy

    This piece for solo flute is at the hallmark of solo flute repertoire. It was composed by Claude Debussy, a French composer in 1913. Here I am performing it in an artist's studio salon concert in NYC.
  • Flute Concerto-by Jacques Ibert

    Recorded with collaborative pianist Hui Chuan Chen. Audio by Christopher Cummins.

Hip Hop & Beatbox Collaboration

I have been lucky to get connected to a hip hop and beatboxing scene at the Windup Space through working with Boom Bap Society and Shodekeh's Embody Vocal Arts Festival. I first was connected to Boom Bap through working with Wendel Patrick and David Smooke to bring a hip hop class to Peabody's curriculum. I wrote a student proposal that paired with Professor Smooke's faculty proposal and Mr. Patrick's curriculum and won the Dean's Incentive Grant. As a result , Peabody Institute now has a student acclaimed hip hop practicum class taught by Wendel Patrick. Since then I have collaborated with Wendel at the Hippodrome and performed as a guest musician at Boom Bap Society twice. My duo The Witches has been featured on Shodekeh's Embody Vocal Arts Festival concert, performing our original vocal works and improvising alongside beatboxers and throat singers. I have found it incredibly musically inspiring and stimulating to collaborate with these genres, bringing my flute and voice to the mix and honing my improvisational and rhythmic chops in the process.

Improvisation

Free improvisation is spontaneous musical process, one with no grammatical rules other than the perception of when one should speak through the instrument, listen, ignore, oppose or enhance the other's playing, and when playing solo, how to build a sonic world alone. This practice was first introduced to me by Michael Formanek.

I love working in this language because it allows me to develop new sonic techniques on the spot, adding a contemporary, self discovered layer to my classical technique and palette. Every time I improvise freely for an audience it is brand new, and will never be played again. It is a singular moment, defined by the synergy of listener and performer. There is something about toeing that line that feels very alive, and allows the audience to be "in on" the messy unfolding of musical ideas, with all the bumps and mishaps that are part of the compositional process, but are usually written out in the "finished product". Free improvisation is a raw product, shaky and vibrant as a young leaf unfolding to the elements in the room.

  • Reaching Hands

    Photo taken at Gaia Healing Center, July 2017. The Witches ©.
  • The Witches- Greek Chorus improvisation

    The Witches (Louna + Ledah Finck) perform a live improvisation at Emmanuel Episcopal on December 9th, 2016, following Caroline Shaw's quartet 'Punctum' and preceding J.S. Bach's Violin Fugue in C minor.
  • Sleeping bumblebee

    Sleeping Bumblebee is an improvisation by The Witches, recorded in Griswold in fall of 2015.It features Louna on vocals and flute, and Ledah Finck on detuned violin. Recorded by Edwin Huet (Kenzo Audio)
  • Four Foals A'Frolick

    Improvisation by The Witches. Recorded at Gaia Healing Center in July 2017. Featuring Louna on vocals and flute, and Ledah Finck on violin.

Sharing Music with Diverse Audiences

Part of my work as a classical musician and citizen artist is bringing music to audiences that would otherwise not have access to it. I do this through several channels: I am a concert coordinator for The Creative Access, a Peabody Institute program that brings music to various community centers in Baltimore. My sites are the Waxter Center for seniors and My Sister's Place. I also volunteer regularly as a performer at other sites including the VA Hospital in the PTSD ward, and the Roland Park senior living center.
My curational work includes recently putting together a community concert with a team of other Latino musicians, it was called Music for Puerto Rico. All the proceeds from the evening of music and poetry were sent to UNIDOS por Puerto Rico to help with hurricane devastation on the island.
My trio (Trio Jinx) worked with Classical Revolution and beatboxer Shodekeh to curate a beatbox and classical music fusion concert at The Crown, bringing classical music to a dance hall setting. My trio has does regular outreach community concerts, free of charge, in order to share our music with the largest audience possible, spanning as many demographics as possible. We have done this work in our three residences across the country (El Paso, Mesa, and in Milford, Iowa.)
My trio also recently performed an Azure concert, which is a program created by
where live music is performed for children with autism and related disorders and their families. All behaviors are welcome in this concert, and we catered it towards sharing the joy of chamber music without concert hall stuffiness that sometimes accompanies it.
This kind of community building through performance has been life changing for me. I've observed that such concerts have a healing effect on both performers and audience members. Sometimes audience members cannot move or react, or are trapped in negativity, but as the hour passes, we all soften a little, and find peace together.

  • Instrument Petting Zoo

    Instrument petting zoo following the Azure concert for Kids with Autism and related disorders.
  • Performing at the Highland Arts Academy

    Free Trio Jinx performance at the Highland Arts Academy, during our recent residency in Mesa, Arizona. We performed at this school for 800 elementary school kids. We did many such performances leading up to our culminating performance at the Mesa Arts Center.

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