Category Archives: Updates

upcoming performances & guest cellist

We’ve got two wonderful performances coming up that we think you’ll enjoy very much! The first is on Sunday, January 22nd at 2pm at the Chapel at Mary’s Woods in West Linn. If you haven’t been there, you really owe it to yourself to experience music performed in this amazing acoustic, which is also visually stunning as well. We’ll be playing David Ludwig’s celestial composition, String Quartet No. 1 “Pale Blue Dot”, which was inspired by the journey of the Voyager spacecraft out of our home solar system. It involves a bit of choreography on the part of the quartet, which also makes it a very unusual piece! It is written in an accessible, tonal style, and audiences have loved it when we’ve performed it previously. The remainder of the program is taken up by Dvorak’s last string quartet, the Quartet No. 14 in A-flat major, Op. 105. It is a gorgeous quartet that is inexpliably not played all that often. Tickets and information about the Mary’s Woods concert series is available here: http://maryswoods.org/music-in-the-woods/

The following weekend (Sunday, January 29th at 2:30 pm), we’re in Salem, performing our nearly annual concert for the Camerata Musica series, which we absolutely love. We’ll be playing Anton Webern’s early Langsamer satz (slow movement), which is written in a highly Romantic style, before he began his experimentation with atonality and the 12-tone method of composition. After that, we’ll be playing two big quartets: Beethoven’s C-sharp minor quartet, Op. 131, and the Dvorak Op. 105. Two very different quartets from two great composers at the tops of their compositional games. Camerata Musica concerts are free admission for all. Info is available here: http://www.cameratamusica.org/series.html

Finally, our regular cellist, Heather Blackburn is unable to perform these two concerts with us, but we were able to secure a splendid substitute that may be familiar to some of you.

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Pansy Chang was once a member of the cello section of the Oregon Symphony, and who subsequently joined the Portland band Pink Martini and had a university teaching career in Ohio for over a decade. It’s quite a task to learn and re-learn repertoire with a substitute player, but Pansy is more than up for the challenge (as are we) and we’re happily working up these two concerts for you!

Here is some more information about Pansy:

Pansy Chang, violoncellist, has performed in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician.  She has appeared with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Chamber Music Northwest, on Bob Sherman’s “Listening Room” – WQXR New York, and in both the Yale University Spectrum Series at Weill Hall and the Yale Faculty Artist Series in New Haven.

Associate Professor of Violoncello at Miami University of Ohio from 2001-2016, she has recently returned to the Portland, Oregon area.  Prior to joining the Miami University music faculty, she served for two years as Assistant to Professor Aldo Parisot and Lecturer in Violoncello at the Yale University School of Music, and for four years as a member of the Oregon Symphony.

Concerto appearances include performances with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, the Oregon Symphony, and many regional orchestras in the Washington, DC and Portland metropolitan areas.  Ms. Chang also performs with the Portland, Oregon-based band, Pink Martini, whose appearances with orchestra include performances with the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

An avid pedagogue, she has given master classes at the Beijing Conservatory in China and Yale School of Music, and has served on the faculties of the Marrowstone Music Festival and the Chicago Suzuki Institute.

Ms. Chang was awarded a Fulbright Grant for study in the United Kingdom, and was a semi-finalist in the Leonard Rose International Cello Competition.

Ms. Chang earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the University of Southern California and Yale University School of Music, respectively, and principal teachers include Aldo Parisot, William Pleeth, Eleonore Schoenfeld, Evelyn Elsing, and Susan Kelly.

Pansy Chang can be heard on the Pink Martini albums, as well as on recordings of works by Ezra Laderman and Martin Bresnick, released by Albany Records, and works by Ben Wolfe, released by Amosaya Music and Planet Arts Recordings.

new season, new music (mostly)

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Photo: Rachel Hadiashar

We’ve just added our concerts for the upcoming season, and as our individual schedules get ever more packed, we’re working on consolidating our repertoire so that we don’t have quite as much music to learn and rehearse. We’d love to do more, but we must also pay the bills, too!

We’re doing two major works this year, Beethoven’s Quartet No. 14 C-sharp minor, Op. 131, and Dvorak’s great final quartet in A-flat major, Op. 105. Our two smaller scale works will be Anton Webern’s Langsamer satz, and David Ludwig’s Pale Blue Dot.

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We’re excited to present a fantastic new piece by David Ludwig to our Salem audience next month (click here for details).

The genesis of his String Quartet No. 1 “Pale Blue Dot” arose from David’s musing on the Voyager I mission, which produced one of the iconic images of mankind, which became known popularly as the Pale Blue Dot photo.

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You can see the earth contained in the circle above (click on image to enlarge).

One of the other aspects of the Voyager I mission was to send a collection of images, sounds, music, and information about the human race. Among these was a recording of the Cavatina movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130, played by the Budapest String Quartet. There is a brief, spectral quotation of the beginning of the Cavatina in this new quartet.

Of local interest to chamber music fans, Pale Blue Dot was written for the brilliant Dover String Quartet, which has been in residence at Chamber Music Northwest the past few seasons. Below is a recent performance of Pale Blue Dot by the Dover Quartet at the Curtis Institute of Music, where they are the quartet-in-residence.

You can read much more about Ludwig’s inspiration and composition of this new quartet on his blog.

thanks for a great season!

Last night we played Beethoven’s monumental Grosse Fuga, Op. 133 as part of the Going Boldly in Lake Oswego concert presented by Cascadia Composers. It was a fantastic concert organized by Linda Woody, who also had a world premiere (Elegy for a Dead Soldier) on the program. It was a fantastic audience, and we were in good company with many excellent local performers on the bill before us.

Believe it or not, this is the end of our ninth season together. Next year is our 10th anniversary season, and while plans are still being made, I can promise a fair amount of Beethoven will feature, and a variety of other composers as well. We’ll see you in the fall!

UPDATE: You can find a video of our Grosse Fugue performance on our Sights & Sounds page.

coming soon: american string quartets

We just returned from Tacoma, Washington, where we played our American String Quartets concert to great audience acclaim (yes, you can program 21st century music and people will like it!) on the fantastic Second City Chamber Series; and Portland, you will get your chance to hear it on Sunday, February 15th at 2:00 pm at the University of Portland’s (5000 N. Willamette Blvd) Buckley Center Auditorium.

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(L-R) Samuel Barber, Daniel Ott, Kenji Bunch

We’ll be performing Samuel Barber’s String Quartet, Op. 11, with its gorgeous adagio (it’s original setting), written all the way back in 1936. Oregon native and newly returned from Brooklyn composer Kenji Bunch will be on hand to introduce his String Quartet No. 2 “Concussion Theory”, based upon the Dust Bowl period (during which the Barber was written, by the way) in the American midwest. Finally, we present one of the major new quartets of the new century, Daniel Ott’s String Quartet No. 2. It just so happens that Dan is a alumnus (Class of 1997) of the Curtis Institute of Music, where Barber was once a student (Class of 1934). It will be a fantastic concert, and we hope that we will sell out the concert!

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Admission is by a suggested donation of $10, with all the proceeds benefitting AllClassical.org, Portland’s 24-hour classical music station and amazing community resource, building cultural community in Portland and beyond.

portland performance of nw composers added to schedule

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We’re happy to announce that on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 2pm, the Arnica Quartet will be performing an all-American concert of string quartets at the Mago Hunt Recital Hall on the University of Portland campus (5000 N. Willamette Blvd). Two of these composers are alive and well – and both trace their roots back to the Pacific Northwest. Kenji Bunch, violist and artistic director of Fear No Music, grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, and after making his name as both performer and composer in New York City, has returned to make his home in Portland, Oregon. Daniel Ott grew up in Puyallup, Washington, and currently makes his home in New York City, where he has a thriving composition and teaching career.

Program:

Samuel Barber – String Quartet in b minor, Op. 11 (1936)
Kenji Bunch – String Quartet No. 2 “Concussion Theory” (2012)
Daniel Ott String – Quartet No. 2 (2011)

Continue reading portland performance of nw composers added to schedule

2014-2015 season taking shape

We’ve got our three main concerts outside of Portland scheduled – and will be working on the Portland area concerts soon – but we thought you’d like to know what we’re going to be playing next season. We’re very excited about what is in store!

On November 2nd, we’ll return to the Salem Public Library auditorium for the Camerata Musica series, and we’ll be bringing three quartets from the height of the Classical period. We’ll be playing a quartet each by Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.

January 30th finds us in Tacoma, Washington, where we’ll make our first appearance on the Second City Chamber Series’ Masterpiece Series. It’s an all-American concert, with Barber’s String Quartet, Op. 11, Kenji Bunch’s Second Quartet “Concussion Theory”, and Daniel Ott’s Second Quartet. Daniel has been a friend to the quartet for years, and hails from Puyallup, Washington. His First Quartet met with much acclaim during the first March Music Moderne concert, and his Second Quartet is if anything even more impressive!

Another season in the books!

Thanks to everyone who came to our Britten celebration concert at the Community Music Center on Friday night. We had a tremendous time sharing these somewhat neglected masterpieces with you!

While the 13-14 season is over (sigh), we’re already planning for the 14-15 season. We’ll be returning to the Camerata Musica series at the Salem Public Library on November 23, 2014; and to the McTavish Room at Astoria’s Liberty Theater on February 15, 2015. In addition, we’re planning on presenting at least three concerts in or around Portland next season, dates and location(s) to be announced. So, if you’ve not gotten a chance to hear us due to our limited appearances in Portland, you’ll have three times the opportunity next season!

So, check back at this site for updates as they come available – be sure to subscribe to the email notifications using the widget in the footer area at the bottom of the page.