From Nothing

A throwback blog post from 2012!
Saxquest handed us our first opportunity for a performance and they have been steady supporters every year since.

by Dana

Recently an audience member said, "So, you really started this from nothing?"

Yup, I said, from nothing.

It started from nothing, nothing of Chamber Project existed in any from.  And then there was that fateful night. A few friends, some old, some new, got together to hang out and enjoy a nice glass or two of wine. Being new to each other and all being musicians, the conversation naturally turned to music. We got excited about some music we wanted to play, and decided to have A MEETING. (Just so you know, musicians have rehearsals...not MEETINGS.)

So we had our first meeting, we brainstormed, we got excited about all of the possibilities, and we drank more wine. We created a group email account, we sent dozens of ideas over email. We had another meeting (and more wine).

We got lucky when Mark Overton at Saxquest asked us to put together something for a little mini-festival he put on in a tent behind his shop. We had our first gig! We decided to put together a whole season. We found a venue that would provide a space for us to set up a series of concerts, which was amazing. We celebrated, with just a little more wine.

cpstlatSaxquest

Our first ever performance.

At Saxquest.

It was hot. Really hot.

We fought about programming, we stressed about money, we experimented with concert formats.  We struggled with the website, learned how to use social media. We were educated on the difference between PR and Marketing.  We performed some great concerts, and maybe some not so great concerts.  We built a board, we became a non-profit. We had our first fundraiser, created our first spreadsheet, and wrote and received our first grant!

We've learned we have hidden talents that don't involve our instruments. We've learned we have limits and we've pushed them.  We've learned the challenges and rewards of working with your friends. (How do you tell a close friend that she's out of tune or that you think her big idea isn't so big - how do you take it when you're on the receiving end?) We've learned to be vulnerable and to be tough.  I think the most valuable thing we've all learned is to trust each other, both on and off stage.

And we've also learned to stop drinking wine at meetings. Well, most meetings.

funnyNinaWinePress

After a concert at The Wine Press, 2011?

Caption this.

Most importantly we've met so many wonderful people at our concerts, building a common ground for all people to come together.

Interview with Kenji Bunch

We're excited to be playing the music of American composer Kenji Bunch this month. We got his CD Boiling Point and fell in love with the piece Drift and decided it fit perfectly on our DREAM program  Much to our surprise, when we got the music, it was not written out in traditional notation! We thought you might like to know more about how this works, so we've put together two blog posts about AUGENMUSIK (Eye Music).

Bob Chamberlin from Webster University is going to share a short history of Augenmusik, including links to recordings in our second post, but first, we're going to hear from Kenji Bunch himself. We contacted Kenji on Facebook and asked him a few questions about his creative process with Drift.       

Drift by Kenji Bunch. All images used with permission.  

What inspired you to write a graphic score?       As a performer, I've worked with a lot of graphic notation, from my years as violist in the Flux Quartet to my time as part of the performing composer collective Ne(x)tworks, a group that specialized in music of the New York School, the avant garde movement of John Cage and his contemporaries.  Writing graphic scores seemed a natural extension of this work.

What came first, the musical ideas or the desire to use this type of notation? What's the story behind this composition? 
I was commissioned by the Spoleto USA Festival to write a trio for clarinet, viola, and piano.  For whatever reason, at the time I was working on the project, my schedule only allowed me to sit down at my desk and get to work rather late at night.  After taking the necessary time to settle down and focus, so that I was actually ready to get good work done, I would be so tired that I'd literally be falling asleep while composing the piece.  I realized that some quality musical ideas were drifting away into my subconscious mind, and if I was able to recall any of them later that night or the next day, they wouldn't be exactly the same.  

Then it occurred to me that there was potential for some interesting exploration about this notion of memory and transformation.  In essence, the material in this piece develops not through the traditional compositional tools, but through the performer's ability to recall what he or she heard earlier in the work.  Any "mistakes" in this recollection would be embraced as development of the material.  And ultimately, the piece serves as a metaphor for the process of grief, which is really a confrontation and reconciliation with the idea that memories are inherently ephemeral, and can't be preserved without some kind of inevitable alteration.

The music literally Drifts away sometimes. 

 Did you experiment with and discard different ways of writing the same material? Did you rearrange the order of the material or movements?    I actually tried valiantly to write this piece using traditional notation.  This was a commission for very accomplished performers, but not necessarily for people who would be accustomed to performing off of drawings.  I was concerned the graphic score would be a distraction that could keep the piece from being taken seriously.  Ultimately, though, I realized it was really restricting me to write the necessary bar lines and rhythms, and it ended up looking way more complicated than it sounded.

Do you use this type of notation often?      I think my first graphic scores were back in 2002, when I was writing for a band called Nurse Kaya that I had with some friends.  I've used non traditional notations a number of times since then, but probably about 85% of my music is written the normal way.

What challenges does this type of notation present to you as the composer? What rewards does it offer you as the creator of this music that traditional notation doesn't offer?      First of all, we need to recognize that every form of notation, including the standard one in use for hundreds of years, is a graphic score.  Music written down in any fashion is a graph, depicting sound frequencies (pitch) over time.  There are other variables (dynamics, articulation, etc.), but all scores are expressions of a graph.  

With this in mind, it becomes possible to see that for certain techniques, traditional notation may not always be the best choice.  What I've found with pieces like "Drift" is that the notation, while at first kind of bewildering, actually makes it a lot easier for the performers to make music.  It enables listening rather than counting, and connecting and responding with each other, rather than trying to anticipate someone else's rhythms or assert your own.  It can be very freeing.  Especially in the case of this piece, which makes room for some gently guided improvisation for the three musicians. 

Check out Kenji's website >     (and buy some of his music!)

Isn't it interesting to learn about the process behind creating music? Which of the images are you most excited to hear? Do you think you'll be able to tell what we're playing in the concert? 

  

We discussed how long this passage should last in rehearsal a few times. In the end, it just happens the way it happens! 

Initially this page probably scared us the most. The first time we played it it was a disaster, but it's amazing how it always works out.

We'll be performing Drift three times in November: 

SAT NOV 16, 8pm    THE CHAPEL VENUE
We've been selling out at The Chapel Series - don't wait to get your tickets! Advance pricing and online sales end at noon on day of concert.  buy tickets now > 

SUN NOV 17, 3pm    LADUE CHAPEL 
You asked for a matinee concert, and you got it! Join us in this beautiful sanctuary. Free will donation suggested.  view details >

NOV 20, 7:30pm    WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES AT THE DANFORTH UNIVERSITY CENTER (DUC)
 
A cozy venue for a great concert.  view details >

 

Meet Elizabeth, and her family.

We have enjoyed having Elizabeth Ramos (violin) perform with us so much this season! When we asked her to play this upcoming concert with us, she was giddy with delight. It turns out that one of the pieces on the program holds a special place in her heart, and this is her first opportunity to actually play it. She has graciously shared this story with us today. Elizabeth comes from a family of musicians. Both of her parents play in the St. Louis Symphony. Her mom is a cellist and her dad is a violinist. Both of her siblings are also musicians. What is it like to grow up in a house full of string players? She gives us a little glimpse in her story. 

 Elizabeth Ramos, violin

Elizabeth Ramos, violin

In my parents house, my mother has a studio that is cluttered with dusty cassettes, decaying volumes of music, and every type of random artifact you could imagine, ranging from decade old used strings to broken splintering cello chairs.  It is here that I would come in my adolescent years to rummage through old bins of recordings and thumb through yellowed, flaking pages of chamber music.  Mixed into the hodgepodge of musical paraphernalia I would frequently come across live recordings of my parent's performances, some from only a few months prior, and others extending as far back as their conservatory days in the 70's.  Perhaps early on I had a deep seated sense of parental pride, or more likely it was just an inquisitive child's curiosity, but more often than not I would find myself specifically combing through the familial stacks of long forgotten cassette tapes labeled "Carmen Fantasy, 1987," or "Brahms Double, 1993."

 Elizabeth on the far left, with her sibling playing together.

Elizabeth on the far left, with her sibling playing together.

Every find would be a secret bonanza, to be confiscated and listened to over and over again while doing the dishes. (The kitchen had the most easily accesible stereo.)  It was during one of these "snooping" sessions that I came across a cassette tape of the Schumann Piano Quintet with my father playing first violin.  To a child's ears, it was magnetic.  During the after dinner dishes that evening, I dragged my little brother into the kitchen and forced him to sword fight with a spatula and a wooden spoon to the Scherzo, and play acted a long, drawn out melodramatic death accompanying the slow movement.  For the next year it was the only recording that played during our dish washing listening sessions.  Eventually we memorized our own made up lyrics, usually consisting of comedic insults and ridiculous dialogue, frequently interrupted by bouts of giggles and laughter. Throughout the years I've held this chamber work in the highest regard, not only for it's masterful brilliance, but also for the nostalgic quality it inspires.  This will be my first time performing the Schumann Piano Quintet.

Come hear Elizabeth play the Schumann Piano Quintet next Friday! Maybe she'll swing a wooden spoon at you during the Scherzo. 

ACE April 12, 8:00pm The Chapel Venue buy tickets>

SCHUBERT  String Trio in B flat Major CRESTON  Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano SCHUMANNPiano Quintet in E flat Major

Hannah Frey, violin Elizabeth Ramos, violin Laura Reycraft, viola Stephanie Hunt, cello Adrianne Honnold, saxophone Peter Henderson, piano

Transfigured Night Illuminated

this post written by Dana Our next concert, Voyage, features a very famous piece by the famous composer Arnold Schoenberg. Verklärte Nacht, or, Transfigured Night. Written for string sextet (2 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos) the piece is based on a poem of the same name by Richard Dehmel.

The poem is quite intimate and powerful, and had a big effect on Schoenberg. So big, it inspired him to write one of his most famous works. After writing the haunting, passionate and beautiful Transfigured Night, Schoenberg turned his music, and the world of music, on its head by writing some really crazy stuff, notably Pierrot Lunaire, which is being performed this Wednesday by members of The Saint Louis Symphony at The Pulitzer if you're interested.

But back to Transfigured Night. As you might know, we've been creating art posters for each of our concerts this year, and I felt that this poem had such rich imagery I really wanted an artist to do something with it, and luckily, I had just recently met a wonderful artist - Holly Gollwitzer-Gregg. I pitched it to her and she said yes! Here is the result!

Preview of “Voyage Poster”

It might seem rather mysterious if you haven't read the poem - which is what we were looking for. This poem has really stuck to me. It has everything- the just slightly taboo subject, the fear, the courage, the love and acceptance. Holly captures THE MOMENT of the poem so beautifully. You can see more of her work (she's also an incredible Decorative Painter) on her site: www.lefthanddecorative.com

Here is the poem, courtesy of Wikipedia, where you can learn more about the music too if you'd like. There are also some fantastic YouTube videos of it. This one gives a moment by moment description of how the music and the text fit together.

Zwei Menschen gehn durch kahlen, kalten Hain; der Mond läuft mit, sie schaun hinein. Der Mond läuft über hohe Eichen; kein Wölkchen trübt das Himmelslicht, in das die schwarzen Zacken reichen. Die Stimme eines Weibes spricht: Two people are walking through a bare, cold wood; the moon keeps pace with them and draws their gaze. The moon moves along above tall oak trees, there is no wisp of cloud to obscure the radiance to which the black, jagged tips reach up. A woman’s voice speaks:
„Ich trag ein Kind, und nit von Dir, ich geh in Sünde neben Dir. Ich hab mich schwer an mir vergangen. Ich glaubte nicht mehr an ein Glück und hatte doch ein schwer Verlangen nach Lebensinhalt, nach Mutterglück “I am carrying a child, and not by you. I am walking here with you in a state of sin. I have offended grievously against myself. I despaired of happiness, and yet I still felt a grievous longing for life’s fullness, for a mother’s joys
und Pflicht; da hab ich mich erfrecht, da ließ ich schaudernd mein Geschlecht von einem fremden Mann umfangen, und hab mich noch dafür gesegnet. Nun hat das Leben sich gerächt: nun bin ich Dir, o Dir, begegnet.“ and duties; and so I sinned, and so I yielded, shuddering, my sex to the embrace of a stranger, and even thought myself blessed. Now life has taken its revenge, and I have met you, met you.”
Sie geht mit ungelenkem Schritt. Sie schaut empor; der Mond läuft mit. Ihr dunkler Blick ertrinkt in Licht. Die Stimme eines Mannes spricht: She walks on, stumbling. She looks up; the moon keeps pace. Her dark gaze drowns in light. A man’s voice speaks:
„Das Kind, das Du empfangen hast, sei Deiner Seele keine Last, o sieh, wie klar das Weltall schimmert! Es ist ein Glanz um alles her; Du treibst mit mir auf kaltem Meer, doch eine eigne Wärme flimmert von Dir in mich, von mir in Dich. “Do not let the child you have conceived be a burden on your soul. Look, how brightly the universe shines! Splendour falls on everything around, you are voyaging with me on a cold sea, but there is the glow of an inner warmth from you in me, from me in you.
Die wird das fremde Kind verklären, Du wirst es mir, von mir gebären; Du hast den Glanz in mich gebracht, Du hast mich selbst zum Kind gemacht.“ Er faßt sie um die starken Hüften. Ihr Atem küßt sich in den Lüften. Zwei Menschen gehn durch hohe, helle Nacht. That warmth will transfigure the stranger’s child, and you bear it me, begot by me. You have transfused me with splendour, you have made a child of me.” He puts an arm about her strong hips. Their breath embraces in the air. Two people walk on through the high, bright night.

(English translation by Mary Whittall)

Performances
FEB 22, 7:00pm at The Saint Louis Art Museum Art After 5 series.Call 314-721-0072 to reserve your free tickets.

MARCH 1, 8:00pm at The Chapel Venue. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Includes 2 drinks. Click here for advance ticket purchase.

Full Program PIAZZOLLA            L’histoire du Tango BERMEL                Soul Garden SCHOENBERG     Transfigured Night

Stay tuned, we're going to have Voyage stories from our musicians in the next post!

Building Together

Today we launch our "Countdown to 2013" donation drive! We love bringing music to our community - and we need your help to keep it coming! Help us establish ourselves as a permanent fixture in the music scene here in Saint Louis by making a donation. We call it, "Becoming Part of the Project" because when you donate to us, you really are an integral part of what we do and you join the circle of people who have come together to make our concerts a part of their lives.

So, this thing called music costs money. Quite a bit of money. Our focus is to present the best musicians our town has to offer in intimate, casual settings where you can get to know the musicians, as well as the music. We go out of our way to use locally owned businesses for the services we need as much as we can. (All of our printing is done by locally owned printers - The Ink Spot on Hampton and Paperkeet on Morganford).

We put together this little flyer to send out with our snail mail campaign - scroll down to see our "contribution menu".

Preview of “donation campaign insert V2”p2The first advice we got from an adviser who helped us set up our non-profit status was that our financial foundation would come from lots and lots of small to medium donations. Not from grants or big flashy donations. And she was right. We have received some very generous donations, for which we are incredibly grateful. We've received our first grant, and look forward to more in the future, but what we really seek is for the community to chip in what they can to help make music happen in their community!

Take a moment and visit our PayPal link and become a Part of the Project!

www.PayPal.com

or send a check to:

4159 Wyoming Street St. Louis, MO 63116

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Preview of “donation campaign insert V2” p1

Creating a MOSAIC

Our concert this week is called "MOSAIC". Every piece on the program is by an American, and each piece truly unique.  We're really excited about the blend of old and new on this program and the breathtaking variety of style. From traditional classical, modernist mastery, jazz, blues and folk - it's all in here! Learn a little more about the music from the musicians themselves in this post. October 19, 8:00 pm The Chapel Venue - tickets include 2 drinks. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Online ticket purchase click here.

October 24, 7:30pm Chamber Music Series Danforth University Center, Washington University - in the Goldberg Formal Lounge free

MUSICIANS Jennifer Gartley, flute Dana Hotle, clarinet Adrianne Honnold, saxophone Elizabeth Ramos, violin Laura Reycraft, viola Stephanie Hunt, cello Christopher Haughey, bass

JOAN TOWER Petroushskates (flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano)

petroushka

Dana "I about fell out of my chair the first time I heard Petroushskates I loved it so much. It is so colorful and vibrant. Joan achieves these bright, shimmering, brilliant colors with just these 5 instruments, almost exactly the same colors the composer Stravinsky gets with a full orchestra. Stravinsky's famous ballet, Petroushka, is one of her sources of inspiration for this unique piece. The other source, figure skating, seems completely at odds with her first source: an iconic ballet by a Russian master, but somehow, she makes it work! I love the tension that these two seemingly unrelated ideas create in this short piece. I'm excited to finally play music by Joan Tower, one of the great American composers of the 20th Century, and one of the first female composers to really "make it". She was the Conductor in Residence at the St. Louis Symphony in the '80s, so she has this great St. Louis connection as well."

Jennifer "The Tower never lets up, I can never stop counting even for a second. In practicing this work, the rhythmic element is just so challenging, but the effect should be a mix of the ultra complicated coupled with a feeling of effortlessness... which doesn't completely make sense until you hear it."

AARON COPLAND Piano Variations (solo piano)

copland

This is not your everyday piece of music. This is not your everyday composer. One of the most popular American composers of all time, you get to hear a side of Copland you may not have heard before in his Piano Variations (1930). This piece put him on the map as a very serious artist. This music is "ART" in the highest sense of the word. It falls into the category of "Modernism", which basically means a style of music in which a composer is trying to break out of the traditional ways of using melody, harmony and rhythm, often times failing to create anything lasting. But not Aaron, he succeeds brilliantly. This music is bracing and angular, representing the incredible changes in society in the early to mid 20th century. Think machines, technology, urbanism - expressed in a very elegant and concise vocabulary. We've rented a brand spanking new Yamaha Concert Grand piano for this concert, and Nina is going to show you everything it can do with the Copland!

MASON BATES Life of Birds (flute, clarinet, violin, cello)

Jennifer "I have been intrigued by Mason Bates for a few years and I first heard about him in his role with the New World Symphony in creating these really cool electronica/classical crossover concerts that were held in clubs late night. After a little bit of research, I found that he also composed acoustic works and this work just seemed to fit perfectly with our programming. I like his approach to narrative within a work, and even though flute players sometimes get a little tired of being compared to birds, this new approach by Bates really caught my interest. I can't wait to play this, it has been on my wish list for a couple of years."

Dana "Life of Birds is amazing. It's playful, jazzy, modern and soulful all at the same time. we had a blast rehearsing it at a Very Open Rehearsal at STLCC last week!"

Mason is on Facebook and Twitter (follow links to connect with him)

~intermission~

EVAN CHAMBERS  Come Down Heavy (violin, saxophone, piano)

Adrianne "Evan Chambers, the composer of Come Down Heavy, is a contemporary American composer and a traditional Irish fiddler. As you might imagine, he often unites the contemporary and the traditional in his music, and Come Down Heavy is no exception. The piece starts out with a blues-styled line in the saxophone part but quickly evolves into a more avant-garde imagining of the melody utilizing the extended range of the saxophone and rhythmic complexity in the ensemble as a whole. At one point the instruction to the performers in the score says "Cataclysmic", which I've never seen in a piece of music!

Throughout the first movement, the piece goes back and forth between these bluesy folk tune melodies and a more modern representation of those melodies. The second and third movements of the piece are more traditional, with the second movement featuring a beautiful melody performed by the fiddle and the third movement featuring the saxophone. Finally, the fourth movement, "Drill Ye Tarriers" employs different types of dance forms and ends with a frenzied flourish in the form of a tarantella. [a tarantella is an old Italian dance form that has to do with spiders, you can read about it here] Throughout the piece Chambers uses traditional Irish, Scottish and even Italian folk ideas, a nod to both his own heritage and to the varied heritage of America.  This piece can get pretty wild, but just keep listening! You're never far from another folk tune. "

GEORGE GERSHWIN "Someone to Watch Over Me" (saxophone, string quintet) An American Classic, sweetly arranged for sax and strings. Check out this beautiful rendition by the incredible Ella Fitzgerald. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYEeAOTIQ2c&feature=related]

This program is presented in partnership with The American Arts Experience, and partially funded by The Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

STLCC Students ROCK!

by Dana - be sure to scroll down! The St. Louis Community College has invited us to present a Very Open Rehearsal on their Meramec Campus on Friday Oct. 12. We are thrilled to be involved with this young energetic community. Dr. Jerry Myers, Director of Choral Actives/Assistance Professor of Music at STLCC says,

It is a goal of the STLCC Meramec Music Department to expose our students to quality musical experiences, whether in the classroom, rehearsal, or through guest artists. While it is important for our students to see performances by professional musicians, our focus is on teaching students the process of learning music. The Very Open Rehearsal allows us to exposes our students to professional musicians, but also gives the students the opportunity to witness a professional-level rehearsal. Further, our students will be able to interact with these musicians and discuss the rehearsal process with the guest artists. I cannot think of a better music education experience!

We can't either, and we're excited about being on campus on Oct. 12th at noon! This event is free and open to everyone. It's in Humanities West, Room 102, which is across the hall from the Theater. Please join us!

As part of this project, we asked Micheal Swoboda's STLCC Graphic Design class to create posters for this event in a unique cross-discipline collaboration. We are thrilled with the results! Do you have a favorite? We could pick one so we printed a few of each!

One-Week Design Challenge
Chamber Project event Posters
24˝ x 36˝ ; typeface: Gil Sans
 
Working in groups of three and using the supplied text—
research the mission of the organization, listen to the style
of music to be performed, and conceptualize multiple ideas
to create one or more dynamic posters that will entice the 
community to attend the event.
 
Graphic Design 1 and II, Monday / Wednesday 6:00 pm to 8:50 pm
 
Class Participants
 
John Chihak
Karrie Columbus 
Chris Conant
Blake Estes
Emily Feldewerth
David Harris
Adam Scott 
Carly Troxell
 
Willa Allen
Merrick Felder 
Brian Grass 
Irfan Mirza      
Steven Nash
Ashley Schepers 
Peggy Triska
 
Michael Swoboda, instructor

There's a BEAR on STAGE!

IMG_0592

A short photo essay by Dana. We kicked off our season this past Friday to a packed house at The Chapel!

We began the day with rehearsal at 10:00am. We hadn't seen each other since our marathon weekend of rehearsing Labor Day weekend. Two weeks without rehearsal is an eternity to musicians, but that's the way it worked out this time. We came into The Chapel to rehearse and found this:

Image

Why was there a giant bear playing the piano Jerry Lee Lewis style on stage? We have no idea, but we took it as a good omen.

We moved the bear to a more comfortable listening position, and commenced rehearsal.

Bear under piano

We had a few visitors stop by during rehearsal - one took some shots for us.

Rehearsing Beethoven

rehearsal

After rehearsal we got the chairs arranged for the concert. One of my favorite things is being in a venue when it's empty and know how transformed the space will be in just a few hours time.

setting up

We had record online ticket sales - and many more who braved the crazy traffic (we heard they closed Hampton it got so busy!) to make it to the concert.

The concert gets underway!

Tann

Nielsen

Kyle

The audience loved it - we got an enthusiastic "Standing O".

Standing O

Standing O2

Did you notice the bear during the concert? We think he enjoyed it too.

Thanks to everyone at The Chapel for volunteering their time to make this event happen! It was a spectacular way to kick off our season!

Youth

We kick off our 2012-2013 season this Friday with a program we're calling "Youth".  Here's a little post about the music and the musicians, and what the musicians think about the music. MEET THE PROGRAM:

Youth Poster

R. STRAUSS      Till Eulenspiegel - Einmal Anders! TANN                 Duo NIELSEN            Serenata-Invano BEETHOVEN      Septet Op. 20

Till Eulenspiegel is one of Richard Strauss' most famous works for full orchestra. It musically tells the story of Till Eulenspiegel - The Merry Prankster of German folklore which dates back to the Middle Ages. Till stirs up trouble in a market, harasses the monks, flirts with the ladies and mocks the academics - until he gets caught. This clever arrangement (Einmal Anders means, 'Another Way") for quintet (violin, clarinet, horn, bassoon and double bass) captures the very essence of Stauss' original composition.

Laura and Adrianne will be performing Hilary Tann's Duo which directly contrasts the playful boisterous Till with smooth long lines weaving between the viola and the haunting sound of the soprano saxophone. The "youngest" piece on the program provides an intimate encounter with these two instruments.

Carl Nielsen's Serenata-Invano (Serenade in Vain) tells the story of youthful love. A young man hires a band to serenade his love - I won't give away the end by telling you what happens.

After intermission (time to grab another beverage!) we bring seven musicians to the stage to play the amazing Septet by perhaps the most famous of all composers, Beethoven.  Beethoven was bursting onto the scene as a young man (19!) when he wrote this joyful, energetic music. Featuring the violin, the Septet is rounded out by 3 more stings; viola, cello and bass, and contrasted with clarinet, bassoon and horn. It sounds like a small orchestra!

MEET OUR MUSICIANS

Kyle Lombard, violin

When asked what his favorite piece on the program was, Kyle said "So, if I had to say my favorite piece, it'd be the Strauss...because it gives our listener a taste of what his coloring for full orchestra was like, without the 90 piece ensemble. Music which provides entertaining characters that the audience can easily recognize is just purely more enjoyable for both performer and listener alike."

We've given Kyle about 10,000 notes to learn for this program, and every one sounds brilliant. Kyle is from Kansas City, and has lived on this side of the state for quite some time.

Dana Hotle, clarinet

Dana says this about Youth, "I am really excited about this program! The combination of pieces is just fantastic. They're all really fun to play, and I know the audience is going to love it. The Beethoven just sparkles with positive energy. The Nielsen is new to me, and the first time I heard it I couldn't believe how beautiful the combination of clarinet, bassoon, horn, cello and double bass were. There is a moment in the middle where it slows down, and it's just gorgeous."

Dana is a co-Artistic Director for Chamber Project and is a hometown girl. If you're lucky you'll meet most of her family at this concert.

Tricia Jostlein, horn

Tricia is playing with us for the first time. She's a recent transplant to St. Louis - so be sure to welcome her! She says this, "I'm particularly excited to play Till Eulenspiegel-Einmal Anders.  It's pretty incredible that five instruments, through shear force of personality, can carry a piece originally written for a huge orchestra.  This is a wonderful ensemble of players and we've had a lot of fun putting this concert together."

What she doesn't tell you is that Till Eulenspiegel begins with one of the most famous horn melodies ever written - she basically kicks off the concert and sets the stage for the musically hilarity that follows.

Adrianne Honnold, saxophoneAdrianne Honnold, recently back from touring Europe with the St. Louis Symphony, has this to say about the Hilary Tann Duo, "This piece has three different moods that make for an interesting journey; plaintive, aggressive and hopeful."

Adrianne performed at the World Saxophone Conference this summer in Scotland - she had quite an amazing trip! (Take a close look at her hands during her performance, there's something new on one of them...)

Melissa Mackey, bassoon

Melissa Mackey returns to perform with us for a second season. Melissa suggested we play the Beethoven Septet, it's one of her favorite pieces to play.  Melissa is the Associate Professor of Bassoon and Music History at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She wrote a short blog post about the Beethoven Septet on her own blog - check it out!

The bassoon is featured quite a bit in this program. It's a great chance to check out this very unusual, and very cool instrument. Melissa's bassoon is over 100 years old!

Tony Innaimo, cello

Antonio Innaimo is joining us for the first time, but if you've been to the MUNY , you've heard him play - he's the Principal Cellist of the MUNY Orchestra! When not sweltering his summers away here in St. Louis, he lives in Florida. Tony says, "It's such a joy to work with such consummate chamber musicians, performing such fine works!"

Laura Reycraft, viola

Laura Reycraft, co - Artistic Director of Chamber Project is back with us after a little time off last spring to be a new mom! We're thrilled for her and happy to have her back. Here's what she has to say about this program -

"I love playing the Beethoven-it is so fun!  The viola part alternates between accompaniment and melodic material, acting sometimes as a second violin and occasionally as a bass instrument.  The fresh energy and enthusiasm is palpable throughout the 6 movements, although I think my favorite is the last movement with its extremely serious opening and then light fast section.

The Tann has grown on me as I have learned it through listening to a recording and practicing.  The dissonance created between the two instrumental lines is complex and interesting and more melodic that I first thought."

Christopher M. Haughey, bass

Christopher Haughey is joining us for the first time. He grew up here in the St. Louis area, and has recently returned to join the United States Air Force Band of Mid American located at Scott Air Force Base. They keep him busy performing in three ensembles! We're glad he had the time to work some chamber music into his busy concert schedule!

Come to the concert and meet all of these great musicians!

DETAILS:

September 14, 8:00 pm at The Chapel Venue Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door (cash/check only) $4 students. Tickets include two drinks: beer/wine/soda. purchase tickets online here

Starting to plan next season

 

This is by Hannah, violinist and one of the newest members of Chamber Project:

First of all, congrats to everybody on a wonderful concert Saturday afternoon at Forest Park Community College.  I was happy not to be playing for once, so I could sit and enjoy the awesome music!  It was a great program and a great crowd, and Adrianne, Melissa, Jen, Dana, and Nina outdid themselves.

Can you believe it's already 2012?  We have several more concerts scheduled, all the way into June, BUT what you may not know is that we are already starting to plan the 2012-2013 season.  This is my first year being involved in the planning and I wanted to share with you a bit of how this gets started.  After all, with (now) eight musicians and virtually endless repertoire possibilities, how on earth can we narrow it down to approximately six different programs?

Well, honestly, I can't answer that question.  It seems like a truly daunting task!

What I can do is tell you a little about our meeting last Monday.  We got together for lunch and brainstorming about next season's repertoire.  Everybody was instructed to make a list of pieces they wanted to play, along with the timing and instrumentation (meaning, is it for violin, saxophone, piano?  Or what?) of each piece.

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You can see somebody's notes in the background, if you squint, but most importantly you can see brownies!  I personally had a hard time focusing on the meeting due to the presence of the brownies, but that's just me.

After we ate lunch, we went around the table and talked about various pieces we each wanted to perform. 

This is all a new process for me, but I was told it works best to come up with the longest work or most involved work and then plan the program around that.  Having a theme (for instance this year we had concerts called  "Combinatorics" and "Folk Freedom") helps too, as then we can choose repertoire based on that them for the concert.

We brainstormed a few concert themes, and talked about some larger pieces that would be the bread and butter of those concerts.  Another thing we have to keep in mind is that not all of our venues have a piano, so we need a few programs without piano. 

Everybody had a chance to put in their input and we took many notes.  I personally was shocked by how knowledgeable everybody is about various composers—many that I had never heard of! 

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You can see Dana getting very animated about something!  You can also see that the other end of the table hadn't finished all of their brownies, and again, this was distracting to me.  How can they be talking when there are BROWNIES in front of them?

After about two or three hours we had to wrap up the meeting.  We probably ended up with five or six concert themes and numerous pieces suggested for each one. It was a very successful meeting!

The next step is narrowing it down to a series of programs that is a good length, interesting for the audience, and not too challenging for any one musician, and Laura and Adrianne will be doing most of the work on that, I think.  It helps to have eight people, but sometimes it's better just to have a couple people working together.

Did you think I would tell you anything we have decided?  I can't do that!  I am sworn to secrecy not to give anything away (okay, and we really haven't finalized anything yet!).  I do know that next season is going to be even better than this season, and that's a tough act to follow, in my opinion.

So, what do you want to hear?  If you have attended concerts this year, what has been your favorite piece so far?  We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

What does it all mean?

posted by Dana We are in the midst of our first ever fundraising campaign - our "Countdown to 2012".  It's an incredible time for us.  This time of year, we are all asked to give so much, yet people have given more. We are humbled, overwhelmed, encouraged, inspired, thankful, very very thankful. And, we're sorting through what this all means. Beyond having the funds to pay our musicians, and the funds to have a professionally built website and much more - what does this mean?

We had no idea what this would be like. Would people give? How much,  how often? We put this campaign together literally in hours. We meet with a professional development person who said "What are you waiting for - START NOW". So we did, in a burst of activity; calling a few supporters to get the initial challenge donations, making the database, the thank you follow ups, and everything else as we went. It's been a rush! And, to top it all off, we're doing this during the holidays. This made us wonder, "Would people give? Is it a bad time of year, or good time of year to start this?" This is always an intense time of year for me personally, and then we added this. And boy have my wheels been turning!

What does it all mean? Hanukkah? Christmas? The New Year? People giving money to this Project I helped start?  I always wonder, as a spiritualy unconventional person, how do I fit into all of this holiday craziness?  As one who is always seeking the deeper meaning and substance in life, who is appreciative of, but not belonging to any organized religion, what does all this holiday stuff mean?

Gift wrapping mayhem!

Somehow, this fundraiser has finally given me an answer. In the midst of populating a database and sending emails, I paused and cleaned up my desk. I stumbled on a letter from a friend who is raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (She's doing the St. Anthony's Triathlon in April!). I immediately put a check in the mail. It felt great. And then I began to figure it out.

It all started to make sense to me. All because of the Countdown to 2012 Fundraising Challenge. Somehow, the generosity that has been bestowed upon us, has shown me what all these religions are celebrating. It's the gift of gratitude, this is what this season is about. It's about gratitude. We give to people (or fledgling non-profit arts groups) that we are grateful for. Christians are grateful for the gift of Christ. Jews are grateful for the miracle of light in the Temple. We are grateful for the gifts we receive, and perhaps even more grateful, if we sit and think about it, for the gifts we are able to give.

We have a few more days left in our Challenge to 2012 Fundraising Countdown. If you'd like to make a contribution, of any amount (somehow the smallest donations pull at the heart strings the most), we will be grateful and put your hard earned money to work in our community with enthusiasm and generosity.

by check:   Chamber Project St. Louis, 4195 Wyoming Street, St. Louis MO 63116

online:  click here for PayPal link

Thank you and Happy New Year from all of us at Chamber Project!

gifts

Dana playing with a Rock Band. Scroll down to listen to the whole thing for free. It's great. This has generated over $4000 for a local food pantry so far!

The full poem "Sixth Night"

The Rabbi James Stone Goodmans Blog