‘A Musical Journey’ explores the chamber music of composers from diverse backgrounds | Music
“A Musical Journey” begins Monday night when the chamber music ensemble Musaica launches its 2021-22 season a month late, a delay due to Hurricane Ida.
The nine-member, 16-year-old classical music group, composed primarily of musicians from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform their season-long opening concerts titled “A Musical Journey” at successive evenings at two different venues. from New Orleans this week.
The first performance will be at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m. Monday and the second will be at the University of New Orleans Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on Tuesday, also at 7:30 p.m.
A spokesperson and performer for the group, LPO Deputy Principal Viola Bruce Owen expressed relief that Musaica will perform to a live audience again after almost a full season of live streaming due to COVID restrictions -19 on live performance.
“We’re really excited about this,” Owen said. “The last gig we did last season was live, but it will be the first time in two years that we’ve been doing our entire season for a live audience. Last year we only aired one performance of each program, so we are delighted to be doing two shows of the same program again.
The first concert, entitled “Adoration”, takes its name from the eponymous piece composed by Florence Price for a clarinet and a string quartet which will be performed by the group. Price (1887-1953), was the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer and the first to have a composition performed by a large orchestra, the Chicago Symphony in 1933.
Daniel Parrette is the soloist clarinet of the piece Price.
Also on the program, a composition by another pioneering composer, Amy Beach (1867-1944), whose “Gaelic Symphony” was premiered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, making it the first symphony composed and published by a American woman.
Beach’s “Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet” will feature Sarah Schettler on flute.
The opening piece of the program will be a violin solo by Yuki Tanaka entitled “Mirior For Violin” composed in 1981 by Akira Miyoshi. Tanaka was a student of Miyoshi from 1987 to 1992.
Other works will be performed: “Fairy Tales” by Robert Schumann for clarinet, viola and piano; Max Bruch’s duet “Kol Nidrei” with David Rosen on cello and Diana Thacher on piano; and “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone, composed for oboe and string trio and featuring Jane Gabka on oboe.
Other Musaica concerts this season will be presented on February 15 and 16 and April 18 and 19.
“What we’re really aiming for this year is to try and explore works by composers from different backgrounds and different times,” said Owen. “Every program we do this season includes works by women, black and Asian composers, and other nationalities.
“There is so much great music that just goes unplayed,” Owen added. “We’re trying to do what we can to make it part of it.”
Schettler, the second flute chair for the LPO, described his featured work as “a charming little piece that is a theme in five variations. The strings first play the themes, then the flute goes into a prolonged solo. And then together the flute and the quartet play for the rest of the piece.
Noting that this will be the first time she will perform the work, Schettler continued, “It’s very fluid and it alternates between lower energy and higher energy and there is a very beautiful ebb and flow. The flute itself flows very well. It’s really nice to dive into different female composers and present them to the audience.
SCHEDULE OF THE SEASON 2021-22
October 11 7:30 p.m.
St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church
1545 State Street (at St. Charles Avenue)
October 12, 7:30 p.m.
Recital Hall at the Center for the Performing Arts at the University of New Orleans
UN Campus by the Lake
“Music through a prism”
February 15, 7:30 p.m.
Opera of Marigny
725, rue Saint-Ferdinand
February 16, 7:30 p.m.
UN Center for the Performing Arts Recital Hall
“Angel of fire”
April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Munholland Methodist Church
1201 Métairie Road, Métairie
April 19, 7:30 p.m.
UN Center for the Performing Arts Recital Hall
All concerts are free with a recommended donation of $ 20 for adults and $ 10 for students and seniors. Information: www.musaica.org
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