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:

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)

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!

What Does it Take?

This post is by Chamber Project Artistic Director and clarinetist, Dana. What does it take to put together an entire season? The only way to find out is to do it!

We've got ten concerts, six programs, 18 pieces, 17 musicians, six venues (and a kitchen sink) all ready to go starting September 14th!  This is our 5th Season, and by far our biggest and best one yet. Our concerts this year are filled with fantastic pieces, and we're really proud of the combinations we've put together (otherwise known as 'programming').  We've got a lot of musicians who are new to us and new to St. Louis this year. We will perform a number of pieces that we believe to be St. Louis premieres, along with some some old favorites  - you're not going to want to miss any of this!

As you know, we're all trained as musicians; we are not trained as businesswomen or as marketing specialists, graphic designers, personnel managers and so on. Putting this all together has been very challenging, and very rewarding.  When we got started, over 5 years ago, I stumbled onto this quote and it keeps me going!  (yes, on the internet, so I hope it's real): 

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

When we started Chamber Project, we had no idea that we had no idea what we were doing. We've pushed ourselves and each other to learn new skills, to take risks and to be better musicians.  We love music and we wanted to share it, so we kept going, even when we didn't know where exactly it was going.  

rough draft

Printing now!

Preparing and organizing this season has challenged us to be more creative, and more daring than we've been before. As I pondered what to say in this first blog about this season, I was once again struck by how much being a musician can prepare you for just about anything. As I thought about it, I realized that the  skills you need to be an excellent musician are the same skills you need to start and run a non-profit arts organization. Even though every step of this has seemed new to us, our training as musicians prepared us more than we realized.

I jotted down a few of the key elements that jumped out for me about what this all takes. Maybe you'll find a little inspiration here, so I thought I'd share them.

COURAGE. As a musician, to get up on stage and let the world hear you play is pretty courageous.  For us, producing a concert and not knowing if anyone would come - and then they did and they had a great time and everyone felt great.  Courage, as my Mom said, is not the absence of fear, it's moving forward in spite of it. (Why is Mom always right?)

COMMUNICATION. Musicians have to communicate with each other - or it's not music, it's just people making noise at the same time. To put together a season of concerts, we have to communicate ideas, disagreements, information. We talk with venues, with other musicians, with - well, I could go on. To communicate successfully,  you have to LISTEN. I could write a whole blog post just about listening....

COLLABORATION. Real collaboration. Which means not always being right and not always getting what you want. Trusting that the people might have a better idea than you do. This is true in playing music, and in anything else that requires more than just you to happen.

PATIENCE. This is a big one. The patience to practice the same thing over and over, the patience to wait while you build a skill on your instrument. Working together to create concerts requires a ton of patience. Waiting for someone to respond to something you think is urgent, waiting for the right ideas to come, the right people to sign on to your programs. Waiting for your slow internet to load the pictures into this blog.


PERSEVERANCE. Just keep at it. Keep practicing, keep following your heart to do what you love, even when it's a struggle. If it's on your instrument, or learning how to use Excel, or researching composers to find the piece that is just the right fit with that other one. Just keep trying.

And back to the MLK quote. It takes FAITH. Faith in the belief that music matters. That art matters. That through music, we are all able to be a little more human, to have fuller, richer lives. That all of this effort, all of this passion matters. We believe it does.

We hope you'll come to as many concerts as you can this year. We could not be more excited about what this season has to offer! We kick things off on September 14th with a program we're calling "YOUTH".

If you want to know more, check out our website: or visit our Facebook events page.

And on this blog, we're going to continue the 'Inside the Music' posts about each program, where you learn about the music before the concert from the musicians who are playing the concert. We're also going to introduce you to more of our musicians and have some guest bloggers. So stay tuned!

Rear View Mirror

Jen here, flutist from Chamber Project St. Louis.

I have a bit of a a love/hate relationship with the concept of nostalgia.  There are certain songs that get me every single time even though they really aren't very good.  Madonna's "This Used To Be My Playground" = Jen in a big puddle on the floor.  Green Day's "Time of Your Life," oh man, just get me a kleenex in advance.  I am not sure if I am scared that the best days are behind me (can we say mid-life crisis at 32?), or if I just appreciate those great times gone by.  I am going to go with the latter.

It has been a little over a week since our final Chamber Project concert of the season, just enough time to pull back and get a little perspective.  Final things always seems like a whirlwind. Graduations, weddings, funerals, transitions in general can be kind of stressful.  I am going to be forthright and honest by telling you the end of CPSTL's Season 4 felt a little like a tornado.  Good, but slightly tornadic.  I am not sure if it is a contradiction to be "slightly" tornadic, but let's go with it.  Going non-profit has required us start planning subsequent seasons much farther in advance and getting ten people in rehearsals is well...challenging.

We have the unique opportunity every season to present a retrospective in music at our Audience Choice concerts. Ten women played music chosen by the audience to a completely full house, and an amazingly responsive audience.  All of the stress seems to disappear when you just relax, choose to have fun, and realize you are so blessed and lucky. **See the previously mentioned appreciation of times gone by**

Looking back at the rest of the season has taught me a few things.  I get kind of annoyed when people insist that you should learn something from everything in life.  I don't always think you have to learn something from a failed relationship, or a great vacation, or an instructional exercise video.  Some of these things I may have already known, but perhaps needed a gentle reminder.

Embrace growth: We are growing.  I mean really, really growing.  More musicians, more audience, more performances, and Laura even grew a baby.... Sometimes, the growth can be a little overwhelming, but it is also unbelievably exciting.

Embrace what makes you different:  We started Chamber Project with certain core values and goals.  One of those is to break down the wall between the audience and the performer.  I am pretty sure it doesn't get any closer than this picture below.  As we grow, holding on to those things that we hold as our mission will get more and more important.

This may sound corny...but: Embrace each other:  There is something to be said for how our friendship translates into music making.  I know that you do not HAVE to be friends with someone to make beautiful and memorable music with them, but I think it certainly helps.  Being patient and kind in rehearsals will translate to the stage and to the audience.  I think we generally do a pretty good job of remembering this tenet, but if we forget, please remind us. :)

I intended to write a retrospective detailing our season, but I think you get the idea.  Through 14 concerts - YES, I SAID FOURTEEN CONCERTS - we have had a complete blast in Season Four.  Our audience is not a two dimensional shadow in the distance that is difficult to make out in the darkness of a stuffy concert hall.  They are real people wanting an authentic experience, just like us.

Not to sound like a cheerleader, but a big "Thank you" to Season Four and BRING IT ON, SEASON FIVE!  We are ready!  More information will be coming your way very, very soon....

And the Winner is...

rehearsing at tofa

You will have to be at our Third Annual Audience Choice Concert on June 1 to find out!

What is an Audience Choice Concert you ask? It's a concert where the audience has chosen the music that we will be performing.

How did the Audience choose the music? At all of our concerts for this season (since September of 2011) the audience has been asked to vote for their favorite piece on the program. We have a blast reading the comments and finding out what our audience thinks about the music we choose to play! We always expect the big standards to win by a landslide (Mozart, Beethoven etc) but often they don't! Every piece on each program always receives a few votes, and we often have two that tie for first place.

Why did you start an Audience Choice Concert? From the very beginning, we've been focused on breaking down the "wall" between audience and performer. We had some pretty crazy ideas about how to go about this - and this was one of them! It's proven to be our most popular concert of the year two years in a row, and we're really excited about this year! We've got 10 of the best musicians in the area all in one concert!

Any hints about what we might hear on Friday? Well, we can't give it away, but we can tell you the concert starts with a beautiful tune, moves into some dramatic material, has an interlude of pure elegance, and ends with the most playful and joyful piece of music you can find! It's going to be really fun!

Who are these 10 musicians who will be playing? If we told you that, some of our pieces would be revealed, at least to the close observer of what we've been doing. But, we can tell you that we are thrilled that Laura Reycraft will be back with us after a break this spring (she had a baby!) All of our Core Members will be there, including the always fabulous Nina Ferrigno on piano, plus a great bass player we're excited to be working with for the first time! And you'll have to show up to find out more than that!

Where and When? 

The Chapel Venue - a sanctuary for the arts Friday, June 1, 2012  8:00pm 6238 Alexander Drive -63105 (Behind Memorial Presbyterian Church) $12 regular/$4 students - includes two beverages free street parking click here for a Google Map

To read more about what we do at The Chapel - click here

Jen and Laura at The Chapel

Gods on the Ceiling

What do our musicians think about the music for our concert on Friday April 13? Read on to get the inside scoop on this program with the mystery name, "Gods on the Ceiling." If there is a music word you don't understand, we have a short dictionary at the end of the post. PROGRAM Cherubs on the Ceiling by Paul Hayden Duo No. 2 by Bohuslav Martinu Adria by Christain Lauba Clarinet Quintet by Johannes Brahms

MUSICIANS Hannah Frey, violin Elizabeth Ramos, violin Chris Tantillo, viola Valentina Takova, cello Dana Hotle, clarinet Michael Holmes, saxophone Adrianne Honnold, saxophone

First, we hear from our guest saxophonist, Michael Holmes. He joins us from Champaign Urbana, Illinois. 

Michael: Adria, written in 1985, is a very intricate piece that features many idiomatic compositional techniques specific to the saxophone. The composer, Christian Lauba, is well known for his avant-garde saxophone compositions. Lauba tends to explore many extended techniques, wide ranges of dynamics, and extended ranges of the saxophone in his compositions... this is certainly showcased in Adria. This composition, for two saxophones, is said to evoke the sounds of the Adriatic River which is sometimes tranquil and at other times agitated.

I think that a good composition has two primary objectives: tension and release. Adria certainly incorporates both of these objectives, and there are few moments that are extremely successful during the composition. My favorite moments of the piece are  when the composer asks both of the saxophonists to play at extraordinarily soft dynamics and then creates very tight melodic lines with a hemiola (3:2) between the two parts. These moments create such a beautiful shimmer and texture... I hope that the audience enjoys them as much as I do!


Adrianne and I have had the great fortune to play to together in various ensembles throughout the years, but it has been many years since we have had the chance to play a duet together. I am delighted to be performing with Chamber Project St. Louis and with my dear friend Adrianne!

Next we hear from our clarinetist, Dana. 

Dana: I've really been looking  forward to this particular program all year. First of all, I love the name, and I love the crazy variety of music being showcased, and more than anything, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Brahms Clarinet Quintet. I've been listening to the Brahms since high school. Over the years I've amassed more recordings than I care to admit, some of which I never even listened to until I started prepping for this concert. (A 1962 recording on vinyl by Members of the Vienna Octet, Alfred Boskovsky on clarinet, has become a favorite.)  What is it about this piece that draws people in, and not just clarinet players? Well, from a musicians standpoint, it's quite a masterpiece - but even to the neophyte, this music can strike a deep chord. It begins with one of the most beautiful and plaintive melodies ever heard, and meanders from there into intense rhythmic exclamations, and then back and forth through a variety of emotions and intensities. There's a rhythmic drive in this movement that I love.


The second movement, which is incredibly difficult, is absolutely worth the effort. To me, Brahms better than anyone, can capture the feeling of nostalgia, the essence of memory, of being half asleep and half awake. This is what I love about Classical music, it can express these more subtle and complex emotions and experiences - far beyond just happiness and sadness. In this particular movement, the sense of nostalgia is so intense, it at times overwhelms me. As do the thousands of notes I have to play to pull it off. When I listen to it, I sometimes get intense color sensations (you know, that golden color that happens in the fall when the sun is setting, that color happens a lot.) When I'm playing it, I can't really think about that at all because the music is so difficult to play with either very slow, long phrases, or the embellished, dramatic ones with too many notes!

brahms music

The third movement is a simple tune that wanders on and on like a  beautiful spring afternoon, with a brief rainstorm in the middle -  and the last section is a theme and variations which features each instrument. The entire work is cyclical - the beautiful and plaintive melody from the beginning comes back at the very end.

Brahms wrote this near the end of his career, when he was fully a master of his craft. You can hear it in the music, that this is written by a mature man, fully confident in his art. It's amazing really, when you look at a score and you realize that he thought about and wrote, by hand, every single note. 

brahms score

We finished our first rehearsal just a few hours ago, and I was so stunned at the beginning of rehearsal that I was actually playing the music and not just listening to it I kept messing up!  I was also floored by how amazing our string quartet sounds!!!  You don't want to miss this concert!

Finally, our violinist Hannah answers a few questions about the program. 

What is your favorite piece on the program and why or what do you love about the piece you are playing? I am torn between the Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the Martinu Duo.  Brahms is one of my absolute favorite composers, but (sorry Dana!) the [Brahms] Violin Sonatas are my first love.  Quintets are tough for a self centered violinist like me, because I have to share the spotlight more than I'd like.  Seriously though, the piece is absolutely genius, but I almost more prefer listening than playing (and yes, it's been on in my car for the past several weeks!).  The Martinu on the other hand is so much fun to play.  I've already performed it in March with Laura, and I'm really looking forward to playing it again.

What is the most challenging aspect of this program?  Well, playing Brahms well is a weakness of mine.  Perhaps it's a weakness for everyone...when he writes sotto voce I always freak out because I feel like a gorgeous soft sound is just hard to do.  I'm much better at loud and bombastic!  The other really challenging thing is this one run of octaves in the last movement of the Martinu.  It's one of the most difficult technical passages I've had to play in a long time, and it happens twice.  I've been practicing it every day, but it just never sounds the way it should.  (Octaves, meaning two of the same notes, but one higher and one lower, and I have to use my first finger and my pinky finger while playing on two different strings and I have to move or shift my hand for EACH note.  Fast.)

 Is there a ‘magical moment’ for you in this music? You'll just have to watch my face to see.  There's a place in the Hayden when the saxophone enters and it just cracks me up, the effect is so cool. Brahms is full of magical moments, though I have a couple favorites, like I said, watch my face and you'll know...and I love the second movement of the Martinu--it's so dark and icy, and reminds me a lot of some of my favorite Shostakovich Symphonies.

rehearsnig at tofa

Any fun/interesting stories from rehearsals?  ALWAYS.   But I think it's hard to tell a story from rehearsal in a way that is interesting to anyone else.  It's usually one of those "you had to be there" stories... I'll just say that it's always a challenging experience to work with my husband Chris [Tantillo, on viola].  We are both very passionate people and don't always work well together. We don't play together very often, and I think sometimes it can be tough for other people to work with us.  I'm almost more excited about our Martinu [Duo for violin and viola] because we can rehearse without worrying about if our interaction makes other people uncomfortable! {Dana here: rehearsals have been great! It's so fantastic to work with such passionate, engaged players who are pushing each other to be their best!}

Have you learned something new or interesting from studying for this concert? It's the first time I've performed a piece with one player (the Martinu with Laura in March) and then had to perform it just two weeks later with a different person [Chris].  I already know how I want the piece [to sound], but the new collaboration makes me see it in a whole new light.  It's really very fun, and one of my favorite things about music, which is also one of the things that most overwhelms me, is that there are a million right ways to turn a phrase.  I always tell my students,  "I don't care if you get louder or softer, or how you phrase this - really the only thing you can do wrong is to do nothing."


avant-garde: A term generally used to describe art that is outside of the real of what is considered 'popular'. Art that pushes the boundaries of what art is. 

dynamics: The volume - how loud or soft the music is.

extended range: Refers to notes that are not considered within the everyday usage of the instrument. Usually very very high notes, but can refer to the very lowest notes on certain instruments, like saxophone and bassoon. These notes usually require unusual fingerings and are difficult to play.

hemiola: A way to use rhythm. When an even and an odd (or, two odd) amounts of notes are played within the same amount of time, within one beat. In this case, one person is playing 2 notes while the other is playing 3.

idiomatic: When the music is written in a way that fits very well with the natural abilities and strengths of the instrument it is written for.

movement: Large pieces of music are usually divided into sections, like chapters in a book. Each with its own character(s). Typically, movements are organized in groups of three or four, with the first movement being fast, the second slow, the third dance-like and the fourth also fast. In a three movement work, the dance-like section will be omitted.

phrase: Like a musical sentence - it's a smaller section of music with a recognizable beginning, middle and end. To "turn a phrase", how you shape the phrase, placing emphasis on some notes more than others.

score: The score contains all of the individual parts. The performers have only their own music, they don't see what the other musicians are playing. A conductor uses a score.

sotto voce: Literally, "under voice". To intentionally lower the volume of one's voice to create emphasis. In music, it means to play softer in a particular way, usually with a degree of intensity. Sometimes when there are two melodies at the same time, the composer will indicate the slightly less important melody with "sotto voce" to make it clear to the musician.

theme and variation: A way to structure music, a "form".  A melody is stated at the beginning, and the followed with variations on that theme. It's usually easy to pick out when the different sections begin and end because they will each have a unique character.


"Art forms begin to die when they become bound by tradition rather than inspired by it; when they become deaf to the shout on the street; when they grow static as contemporary life gains speed and draws away; when they  become too refined, abstract and refuse to touch the ground." - Eddie Silva*

We couldn't agree more. This is why we started Chamber Project. As young passionate practitioners of an old and storied art form we feel its life, vitality, and tremendous energy. We want to share this with our community - for the people and for the art form itself. We want to let people in on the depth and breadth of the emotional, intellectual and even spiritual enjoyment that Classical Music has to offer.

In a time when we are bombarded with music everywhere - at the gas station, at the grocery store, from ring tones of the person behind us in line, it seems that our ears have become less attuned and less sensitive to music. How can we, as musicians, offer music to our audience in a fresh way?  In a way that doesn't just keep up with contemporary life, but becomes a part of it?

Inspired by the tradition of chamber music being performed in intimate social settings, we are experimenting with concert formats, and even more boldly with rehearsal formats. Opening the door for people to experience music in a personally relevant way is something we're passionate about. So next week we offer our second Very Open Rehearsal.

Roussel Pic

The V.O.R. is your chance to work with us as we explore music we are learning for an upcoming performance. Our first V.O.R in January was fantastic. The audience feedback during and after the event was incredible. There aren't really any rules - we play, we rehearse, and you ask any question that comes to mind (about the music that is), and we answer it. We get feedback about what we're doing in a truly useful way. In January, the audience helped us decide how slowly we should play the slow movement! You can watch a short video from the event at the end of this post. If you want to read a little more about what a V.O.R. is exactly you can read our post  A What? A VOR? from January.

On Wednesday March 14 Jen, Laura and Valentina will be having a Very Open Rehearsal of  Albert Roussel's Trio in preparation for our performance at The Wine Press on March 23.

Very Open Rehearsal Wednesday March 14, 7:00pm The Tavern of Fine Arts 313 Belt Avenue 63112 free/free parking all welcome

The Tavern of Fine Arts has new art on the walls this week- we can't wait to see it, we hear it's really amazing!

*Thanks to Eddie Silva, blogger for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for the inspiration for this post! The quote above was from "Celebrating The Ballets Russes" which I found in my SLSO program this weekend. You can read more of his writing on the SLSO blog.


Another First!

When you start something from nothing, as we have with Chamber Project, you have a lot of "firsts" along the way. Our first concert, our first write up in the paper, our first dollar, our first fundraiser. The mix of scary and exciting and rewarding is difficult to explain, but it's quite an experience! Last Thursday, on a bitterly cold and windy night, we had our first ever Very Open Rehearsal. We were more than a little worried that the weather would scare people off, but it didn't! We had a great crowd!  We set up the room to get as many people as we could as close as possible to us.  Another first this night was that we had never, ever, played the music together that we were about to play in front of a crowd of people. This felt a little like showing up to play a formal concert in a swim suit. Just wrong. We got our first question before we even started to play, which loosened us up a bit.  We played through the first movement, had to stop once and restart. It was a little ragged. We had tons of great questions from the audience, and the improvement made in the music was  fantastic.

We put together a little montage of the event and put it up on youtube (another first!). Enjoy!


Rehearsing with an audience was an amazing experience. It forced us to focus more, we took bigger risks musically during the rehearsal than we usually do. It was really fun to laugh and play with the audience. The positive response from the audience was overwhelming. We will be doing this again! Thanks to The Tavern of Fine Arts for having us!

This Saturday we perform the music we rehearsed at our VOR in our concert called "Combinatorics".  The program is full of energetic, spirited music, including one of the great chamber works of all time by Poulenc for oboe (we're using soprano sax), bassoon and piano.  All of the music has a connection to France.  It will be about an hour long.


Saturday January 21, 3:00 Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts St. Louis Community College @ Forest Park 5600 Oakland Ave. free, free parking, kids 8 and up welcome


Jennifer Gartley, flute Dana Hotle, clarinet Adrianne Honnold, saxophone Melissa Mackey, bassoon Nina Ferrigno, piano


5 pieces for trio (1935) Jacques Ibert

Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon (1924)
Charles Koechlin

Sonate for Flute, Clarinet and Piano (1907)
Maurice Emmanuel

Three Pieces for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon (1925) Walter Piston

Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano (1926)
Francis Poulenc

bringing down the wall

posted by Dana One of the reasons we began Chamber Project is that we passionately believe Classical Music can be enjoyed by anyone. We felt we could find a way to break down some of the imaginary boundaries that isolate Classical Music from popular culture. To bust the myth that you have to have some secret knowledge or privilege to understand and enjoy Classical Music. We love it, and we're just people like everyone else! Music is Music - it's all made of the same stuff. It's available to anyone, and we're striving to develop a concert format that opens the door to anyone willing to give it a chance and walk in. We think we've found a pretty good presentation that's inviting and fun, and we're always thinking about how we can go further.

This past week, we presented our program, Stings Attached, Thursday and Friday nights.  In both concerts, I felt that we accomplished our mission of opening up the joy of live music for our audience. I began the evening by putting a frame around the music we were presenting - providing context for the audience to build their listening experience on. We do this for all of our concerts. For this program it turned out that the best way to talk about this music was through a mini history lesson about how through time, the way people value personal self expression and dramatic emotional energy in music has changed. Some Eras like the drama, others don't.

I could feel the rapt attention of the audience (as performers, we have a strange 6th sense about how the audience is feeling). Both nights, they loved getting this information. I could feel the energy, I could see it in their faces as I spoke. They were eager for this information, and as the music started, the energy carried through.

At intermission, we mingled with our audience. At The Chapel I had a great conversation with an amateur clarinetist about pieces for clarinet, and he tipped me off to a composer I should look into.  At The Tavern I continued a conversation that had started before the concert began with a table who had been in for dinner as I was warming up. As it turns out, our mothers both played clarinet in high school! I handed out ballots to all of the tables at The Tavern at intermission, making contact with pretty much every person in attendance. This was a very happy surprise for me, and I plan on doing it again!

For us, conversing with our audience is just as rewarding as performing for them. Our audience is getting the hang of this too - it's not everyday someone walks off stage and right up to you and asks you if you're having a good time! It gives them an opportunity to ask questions about the music, about the instruments, about us. And we get to ask them what they think of the music, what brings them to a concert, what is their relationship with music, what is their story?

We are going to continue to come up with fun and new ways to connect with our audience! We hope you will be there! We play a 30 minute set at the Women in the Arts Conference on Saturday November 12 at 2:30 on the UMSL campus. It's free and we are in the JC Penny Conference Center. Our program will be a reprise of last years 'Superwomen Explored", a program of music composed by women.

We hope to see you there!

Welcome to our Blog!

We started CPSTL because we are passionate, curious and excited about Music. Along the way we’ve discovered that our audience is just as passionate, curious and excited about Music as we are! We decided to create this blog to share this passion in a broader scope.

Why Blog? What will we blog about? Reading our blog, you will find out more about who we are, as individuals and as a group, and why we’re doing what we do. What is it like to be a Classical Musician in the time of Lady Gaga, of instant downloads and streaming music online? What is it like to play live Music for live human beings, sitting just a few feet away? What do we do in rehearsals? What is it like to be a performing artist, on an individual and collective level?

We’ll also dig into the Music we play, tell you why we love it and why we’re sharing it with our community. We might even dig into bigger, deeper realms, like:  What is Music? What is Art? Why do we need it? Why we believe Music and Art are integral parts of a healthy and productive community, and what we’re doing to make our contribution. We also might share share a few of our favorite recipes or YouTube videos.

What do you want to know? About us? About Music? Let us know!

We’re going to take turns in this blog, so you’ll hear a different voice and get a different perspective with each entry. We hope you enjoy!

Dana, Adrianne, Jen. Laura, Hannah and Melissa -