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22/23 Season

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D is for Dutilleux, Dvorak, and Diabate
Exploring Music through Storytelling

Henri Dutilleux - 3 Strophes sur le nom de Sacher

Antonin Dvorak - Terzetto

Fode Lassana Diabate - Sunjata's Time

Harvard-Epworth UMC, 1555 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge MA 

Sept. 24, 8:00pm


Peter Paetkau and Sarah Zahorondi - Violins

Madeline Stewart - Viola

Linda Hwang - Cello

Valerie Stephens - Storyteller


Our season opener, focusing on composers beginning with "D", explores using music as a means of storytelling. Music and stories have gone together throughout history in many different forms. From western opera and film to the West African griot tradition to modern mixed media artists and beyond, stories and music are often used to enhance each other and our own emotional responses.


Each piece on this program explores a range of emotions. Dutilleux's 3 Strophes was written for a friend's birthday and mirrors poetic form. Dvorak's lyrical Terzetto was a piece meant to be played among friends while Diabate's Sunjata's Time gives voice to characters and themes from the great Malian creation epic.


Throughout this program, the audience will be invited to experience music through the lens of stories. Featuring master storyteller, Valerie Stephens, as both guide and performer, we begin to see chamber music not only as a formal concert experience but as an opportunity for creativity and imagination.

is for Esmail and Elías
Exploring Music through the Visual Arts

Reena Esmail - Ragamala

Alfonso de Elías - String Quartet no. 2

The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St.

Cambridge, MA

Feb. 11, 7:30pm 


Peter Paetkau and Greta Myatieva - Violins

Sébastien Ridoré - Viola

Linda Hwang - Cello

Beatrix - Visual Artist

String players, and in particular, chamber musicians are forever talking about color in music. In an effort to express as many of the composer's ideas as possible, musicians use visuals in their rehearsal process to describe how to achieve specific sound "colors". How do we adapt bow speed, vibrato, and articulation to express the color we want. In this program, the idea of color becomes quite literal as we employ the visual arts to reflect on these pieces by Esmail and Elías.

Local artists join us on this program to create visual responses to the music. Using featured works as inspiration, artists create companion pieces as the music plays while the audience is invited to explore their own ideas of musical color. 

Reena Esmail's Ragamala is based on ideas from Hindustani music and gives the listener a taste of the vibrancy of the Indian color palette. Rhythm, ornamentation, and harmonies inspired by the subcontinent imbue this piece with a rich yet refreshing character. Alfonso de Elías' String Quartet no. 2 is a prime example of Mexican, Romantic, chamber music. Elías' dense writing is a great medium for this program's synesthetic experience. 


is for Frank, Fahim, and Faure
Exploring Music through Composition 

Gabriela Lena Frank - Suite Mestiza 

Arson Fahim - Piano Trio on Afghan Folk Songs

Gabriel Faure - Piano Quartet in C minor

Harvard Epworth United Methodist Church

1555 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge MA

April 29, 7:00pm


A performance of classical music is a dialog between performer, audience, and composer​. The composer writes a piece which is interpreted by the performer and ingested by an audience. Though they are crucial to the process of making music, composers, and their process of writing great music, are often the least visible in the final product. 

This program explores how composers, both living and past, experience their craft. How does one's context affect their writing? What are the influences and inspirations that drive them? How do they hope audiences listen to their music? 

Gabriela Lena Frank is a Peruvian-American composer who creates musical vignettes of her travels through South America in her piece, Suite Mestiza. Arson Fahim transcribes music from his native Afghanistan for the piano trio against the poignant backdrop of the Taliban takeover last year. The program closes with Gabriel Faure's Piano Quartet in C minor, a piece that plays with moments of movement and stillness. 

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