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.

classical up close with arnica

We’re excited to play on the Oregon Symphony musicians’ series Classical Up Close for the first time this year, and we’re bringing David Ludwig’s Pale Blue Dot with us!

Here we are in our refresher rehearsal for the piece earlier this week (click photos to enlarge).

Photo: Rachel Hadiashar
Photo: Rachel Hadiashar
Photo: Rachel Hadiashar
Photo: Rachel Hadiashar

We hope to see you there!

May 3, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., Lake Grove Presbyterian Church 4040 Sunset Dr, Lake Oswego.

Free admission and open to the public! #upclosepdx

pale blue dot


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.

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.

Two concerts added for Winter 2016

We’re excited to get our 2015-2016 season to its belated start! We’re doing two performances in February and March, with a possible third if a suitable performance space is found.

On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, we’ll play on the University of Portland’s Music at Midweek series at the Mago Hunt Recital Hall. The concert is free to the public, and begins at 12:30 p.m., and lasts just under an hour. See our Upcoming Concerts page for more information. We’ll be performing Beethoven’s very first completed quartet, the Quartet in D major, Op. 18 No. 3. Then we’ll conclude the concert with Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 2 in A major, Op. 68.

On Sunday, March 13, 2016, we’ll be in Salem, Oregon for the Camerata Musica series at the Salem Public Library. This concert is also free to the public, and begins at 2:30 p.m. We’ll play the Beethoven and Shostakovich quartets mentioned above, and conclude the concert with David Ludwig’s Pale Blue Dot, a wonderful piece which begins in a very surprising way! You might even say it’s out of this world…

arnica joins acclaimed soprano on ‘night songs’ vocal concert

Soprano Janice Johnson
Soprano Janice Johnson

We’ll be joining a stellar cast of Portland musicians who will be supporting acclaimed soprano Janice Johnson and pianist Kira Whiting in their vocal recital entitled “Night Songs“, on Wednesday, November 4 at 7pm, at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church (1535 NE 17th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97232). We’ll be performing Chausson’s Chanson Perpétuelle. Cellist David Eby also performs. The program also features works of Brahms, Hahn, Marx, and Debussy.

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.

(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, 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


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.


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”

salem camerata musica concert opens arnica season

arnica-4x4Please join us for our first concert of the 2014-2015 season this weekend – Sunday, November 2 at 2:30 pm at the Salem Public Library. We’ll be playing three quartets by three composers with deep associations with the city of Vienna, Austria: Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert. The concert is free to all comers – please check out the Camerata Musica website for more information.

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!