In The Press

Praise for the Taos Chamber Music Group!

"One of the great treasures of Taos" -The Taos News
"Big magic...silken ensemble playing"
-Albuquerque Journal
“A remarkable concert of juxtaposed styles”
-Horse Fly
“Depth, vitality and inventiveness”
-Spencer Beckwith, KUNM

Taos Chamber Music Group presents Storm & Stillness
Saturday and Sunday, February 17 & 18 at the Harwood Museum of Art

The Taos Chamber Music Group’s mid-winter program, “Storm and Stillness” on Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18, 5:30 p.m. at the Harwood Museum, explores the power of music to depict the natural world as well as to be inspired by it. Works by Katherine Hoover (“Mountain & Mesa”), Jennifer Higdon “(Light Refracted”), Ludwig van Beethoven (“Piano Quartet No. 2”), Ernest Bloch (“Three Nocturnes”) and Alex Shapiro (“Desert Thoughts”) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano will be performed by Taos and Albuquerque based TCMG members, Elizabeth Baker, violin, David Felberg, viola, Sally Guenther, cello, Nancy Laupheimer, flute, Keith Lemmons, clarinet and Kim Bakkum, piano.

“From storm to stillness, the dramatic skies, luminous light, sublime silence and numinous landscape of our area have informed TCMG’s programming for a quarter of a century,” says TCMG Director Nancy Laupheimer. As is noted in the history of the group on its website, “There is something different about making music in New Mexico - its endless vistas and open landscapes infuse creativity with a sense of spaciousness and possibility.”

“Storm and Stillness” brings these forces to the fore with works informed by the natural world. Beginning with Ernest Bloch’s “Three Nocturnes” for piano trio, the music reflects aspects of the night, with its languorous, ethereal, opening movement, followed by a lyrical andante quieto, and concluding with a tempestuous finale. Bloch is considered an American composer of Swiss origins, having been born in Switzerland in 1880 but moving to the US in 1916 and spending most of his adult life here. His musical interests were far ranging, including Asian scales and sororities, French impressionism, American spirituals, Neoclassicism and, most notably, Judaism and Hebraic music.

Continuing its dedication to the music of women, TCMG will include the works of three living female composers. Katherine Hoover’s “Mountain and Mesa” was one of the catalysts for this program. A composition for flute and piano that had its premiere in 2009, its three movements explore flute traditions from around the world. Beginning with the plaintive gypsy music of a Hungarian Lassu, “Mountain and Mesa” continues with a beautiful melody based on a Hopi Lullaby accompanied by bird song, and concludes with the lively Chinese folk music of a Dizi (Chinese bamboo flute) Dance.

Jennifer Higdon’s “Light Refracted” for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano was written in 2002. Higdon is one of the most performed composers alive today and just won her second Grammy award in addition to being a Pulitzer Prize winner. She describes “Light Refracted” as “a meditation on the way that light is reflected in people: there is the inward view of that light, which is thoughtful and contemplating, with a wide range of emotion; and outward... the light that we shine out towards the world (in this case, full of energy). The possible number of ways that light can refract (meaning to splinter and reflect in different dimensions and angles) are endless.” “The opening of the gorgeous first movement, Inward, connects to stillness, and the tumultuous second movement, Outward, seems to depict a storm,” says Laupheimer.

Alex Shapiro was born in New York City in 1962 and studied at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music. She moved to Los Angeles in 1983, and in 2007 relocated to Washington State's remote San Juan Island, where, surrounded by wildlife, she composes and watches out for tsunamis. In addition to her many musical and arts advocacy activities, she is an award-winning photographer and served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California. Shapiro describes “Desert Thoughts,” which was written in 2008 for flute, clarinet and piano, as “some of the most programmatic music I've composed, to the point where even the score itself contains maniacal little outbursts describing the visions that swept through my mind as the music wrote itself. The scene: the desert's arid stillness and the weight of the morning's expanding heat. A sudden rainstorm overtakes the landscape, forming instant pools of water over the cracked earth. The storm passes as quickly as it arrived, and as the birds and reptiles emerge to greet the fleeting moisture, the music ends as flowers strain upward against the bluest sky for those few passionate moments of their fullest bloom.”

Of TCMG, Shapiro writes in a recent email, "I’m really impressed that the ensemble programs so many composers who happen to be female, without making a big deal about that detail. You’re doing a great deal to naturally incorporate our work as part of the norm, and thus affecting the way in which audiences view it. Brava!"

The program will conclude going back in time to Beethoven’s “Piano Quartet No. 2 in D Major.” Written in 1785 when the composer was only 15, the work was still very much in the Classical style of Mozart and Haydn. Its three movements convey a youthful exuberance as well as a touching lyricism. Laupheimer presumes that Beethoven was inspired by nature early on, a connection which she says manifested perhaps most apparently in his highly programmatic “Pastoral (Sixth) Symphony.” “I like to put a more recognizable work, such as the Beethoven, after pieces that are new to our audiences. I think they will hear the Quartet in a totally new way!”

For tickets and more information, visit or call the Harwood Museum, 238 Ledoux Street, 575-758-9826, where there is a discount for Museum members. A dinner discount is being offered to concert goers after the performances from Doc Martin’s, Martyrs, the Gorge Bar & Grill and Lambert’s restaurants.


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