Living La Vida 'Lorca'
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Choreographer Mari Sandoval demonstrates flamenco-style hand
clapping; first violinist Lindsey Strand-Polyak makes a notation
on her score; concert master Alexander "Sasha" Tseitlin,
the first chair violinist.
LORCA WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED PIANIST
and sometime composer before gaining fame as an author, and the
rhythm of his writing, Krouse says, suggests that “what he
clearly had in mind was that a lot of the text should be sung.”
At the time that Galbán began working on her Lorca theatrical
piece, Krouse was already working with the BFA on a separate Lorca
project. The relationship between the BFA and Krouse began in 1982,
when Carmen Zapata telephoned USC looking for someone who might
be interested in writing music for English translations of the poet’s
work. Krouse was then 26 and pursuing a doctorate in composition.
Nearly 6 feet tall, he had dark brown hair that fell to his shoulders
in soft curls, heavy eyebrows and fine features. Krouse had grown
up in South Bend, Ind., in a home filled with books and music —
classical, opera, folk and Broadway musicals. There was no television
in the house. His father, Philip, was a math teacher, and his mother,
Charlotte, a mostly amateur pianist. Krouse learned to play piano
from his mother, but his favorite instrument was the guitar.
After graduating from Indiana University at South
Bend with a double major in guitar and composition, Krouse came
west to pursue advanced studies. As a guitarist, he was prodigiously
talented and played with an intensity that would later cause him
In 1979, Krouse joined with two friends, Terry Graves
and Kenton Youngstrom, to form the all-guitar ensemble, The De Falla
Trio (later the Falla Guitar Trio), named after the great Spanish
composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), who was a friend of Lorca.
Signed by Columbia Artists Management Inc., the three guitarists
kept up a busy touring schedule. In 1983, they made their New York
debut and went into the studio to cut an album. Released the next
year on the Concord label, Virtuoso Music for Three Guitars
was named record of the year by Stereo Review.
For Krouse, the success was not to last. For some
time, he had been minimizing the symptoms of a serious condition
then called tendonitis but now known as “overuse syndrome.”
It started with pain in his right hand. Before long, the left hand
was afflicted. After a while, he lost the use of the middle finger
of his right hand. “I couldn’t even brush my teeth or
use a pencil,” he says. “I eventually threw in the towel.
Fate, I guess, was telling me I was supposed to be a composer.”