There has been a lot of chamber music in my life lately, and that isn’t likely to change soon. And that’s a very good thing!
Last Sunday, the Arnica String Quartet played our first concert with founding cellist Heather Blackburn back in her rightful spot. It was for the wonderful Camerata Musica series in Salem, Oregon. We played music of Mozart (two of his final “Prussian” quartets) and Arriaga (his first quartet). When we originally planned this season’s programs, we decided to do some of what we thought would be less challenging repertoire. Mozart is hardly less challenging in some ways, especially musically, but technically it can be a bit less demanding than late Beethoven, Bartók, or contemporary pieces. It made for a nice way to gradually get the quartet back into the swing of things after a couple years without all of our regular members present.
Whew! I’m back in Portland again, after an action-packed five days at the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival. I played three big pieces, two of which were brand new to me, and one which I hadn’t played in at least ten years. After three years of playing here, I can now declare my total love of this festival. It’s all about the people. My artist colleagues are all amazing musicians and people. We’re from all over the continent (and in some cases, the world) and our ages range widely, but we all came together and made music together, often with sublime results. The board and volunteers of the festival are some of the most dedicated and music-loving people that I’ve come across, and the setting of the Methow Valley is wildly beautiful.
I had such a great time making music with my chamber music companions this past week – they were violinists Elena Urioste, Brittany Boulding, Emile-Anne Gendron, and Grace Park; cellists Eric Gaenslen and Meeka DiLorenzo; and pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough. Such great musicians and people! It was also great to see returning cellist/composer Paul Wiancko, and to meet the super funny and glamorous and formidable violist Ayane Kozasa. Finally, my host family, Boo and George Schneider were so welcoming and hospitable, I felt right at home in their lovely home. I wish I had some group photos of us, but we were too busy having fun to take many pictures. So these photos from my various activities at the festival will have to suffice: