chamber music ftw*

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!

Arnica String Quartet

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.

Very excited for this one!

This coming Saturday I’ll be in Laramie, Wyoming for a reunion concert with my grad school quartet (neé Chesapeake Quartet) – John Fadial and Jeffrey Multer, violins, and Beth Vanderborgh, cello, all of whom I haven’t seen in over two decades. Added bonus: it’s the sublime Brahms G major Sextet, with superstar cellist Lynn Harrell, and UofW viola professor James Pryzgocki! It’s part of the University of Wyoming’s Cello Festival 2019. Should be loads of fun, I’ll post a recap of the trip when I return.

Starting up later this week is the 2019 edition of Classical Up Close, the outreach series by the musicians of the Oregon Symphony. Here’s their promo blurb:

The Classical Up Close Festival starts next Saturday, April 20 with two Blitzes! The first is at 10 am with a French Horn Quartet at Mt. Scott Park Community Center, and the second is at noon with a pair of basses, and a pair of violins (including Concertmaster Sarah Kwak!) in the Pearl Room on the third floor of Powell’s City of Books downtown. 

This is just the beginning of the festival. Oregon Symphony musicians and their special guests will present a total of 15 FREE chamber music concerts – six full-length evening concerts, six intimate Blitz performances, and two Kids’ Concerts – in locations all around the Portland metro area! Visit for concert dates, times, locations, and programs.  

Violinists Gregory Ewer and Samuel Park will be taking part in this year’s edition of Classical Up Close.
Marilyn and I back when we used to play at the Portland waterfront each year.

I’m taking part in five different pieces this year, which is more than it seemed like when I signed up six months ago! But it’s always a rewarding experience and a great way to connect with our patrons and community in a more personal way that from the stage of the Schnitz. Here’s what I’m involved with at CLUC this year:

  • April 24th @ Mt. Scott Presbyterian Church – Martinu, Three Madrigals for violin and viola; with Ron Blessinger, violin; Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in E minor, RV 278, with Samuel Park, violin soloist, and string quintet.
  • April 30th @ Tigard United Methodist Church – Martinu, String Trio No. 2 H. 238, with Emily Cole, violin and Trevor Fitzpatrick, cello. Caroline Shaw, Limestone & Felt, with Marilyn DeOliveira, cello.
  • May 3rd @ Milwaukie Lutheran Church – Arriaga, Quartet No. 1 in D major, selected movements, with the Arnica String Quartet.

Below is a flyer of the complete series to download, or you can click this link for the web version.

*for the win

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