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 Play It Forward with Hub New Music
November 9 & 10, Harwood Museum Arthur Bell Auditorium: 5:30 PM

The Taos Chamber Music Group “Play(s) It Forward” when it presents the young group of adventurous musicians, Hub New Music (HNM), at the Harwood Museum on Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10, at 5:30 p.m. Comprised of flutist Michael Avitabile (age 28), clarinetist David Dziardziel, (age 29), violinist Alyssa Wang, (age 25) and cellist Jesse Christenson (age 31), the ensemble is based in Boston whose nickname (The Hub) informs its moniker. Their Taos program includes Robert Honstein’s “Soul House,” Kati Agocs’s “Rogue Emoji,” Takuma Itoh’s “Faded Aura” and Mason Bates’s “Life of Birds.”

Hub New Music brings vibrancy to the vast variety that makes up today’s classical music scene, and it has garnered such accolades as "intrepids" (WQXR), and “one of the most talked about younger contemporary classical ensembles" (Oregon ArtsWatch). The Boston Globe simply wrote of their performances: "go, listen, and be changed."

“Hub's repertoire is different from traditional chamber music in that the vast majority of it is written for us and highlights our unique instrumental combination of two winds and two strings, a combination not heard in the standard repertoire,” writes Avitabile. “Our quartet lends itself to wildly colorful writing which audiences will hear in each piece. One thing we particularly love about our repertoire is the diversity of influences in very new works. On this program, audiences will hear sounds reminiscent of Ravel and Brahms, more experimental sounds, and works influenced by jazz and pop”.

TCMG Director Nancy Laupheimer says, “Hub New Music is such a great fit for our annual “Play It Forward” program in which TCMG features performers and/or composers from the new generation of chamber musicians. Audiences will be blown away by Hub’s mastery and musicianship, as well as hear music that is of the moment, moving and mesmerizing.”

Laupheimer, who is also TCMG’s flutist, will join the group for an unusual iteration of Takuma Itoh’s “Faded Aura,” composed in 2017 for HNM and Silk Road shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki. Says Itoh, who was born in Japan, raised in Northern California, and currently teaches at the University of Hawaii, “my thought was to treat the entire ensemble like a super-shakuhachi – asking for the whole ensemble to contribute to a single sound and savor the color of each note of the piece in the same way a shakuhachi player would.” Short a shakuhachi in Taos, Laupheimer suggested to flutist Michael Avitabile (who first approached her about coming here) that he take on the breathy, bendy shakuhachi part on metal flute while she play the more “straight ahead” flute line. “This is the piece that initially captivated me when listening to Hub’s recordings. It has a quality of timelessness that transcends cultures and centuries within its own ethereal sound world,” she says.

The longest work on the program is called “Soul House” by Robert Honstein, which Hub is recording this fall for its first album. Honstein, who was born in 1980, has received a myriad of awards and grants, and his music has been performed by such organizations as the Tanglewood Music Center, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Bang on a Can Summer Institute and the American Composers Orchestra. Although “soul house” in ancient times referred to a miniature home buried with the dead for the soul to inhabit in the afterlife, Honstein was thinking of his own childhood home as a soul house, “not for my soul, but rather for memories of family and childhood…a love letter to the house I grew up in.”

The most recent composition written for HNM this year is Kati Agocs’s “Rogue Emoji.” Agocs was born in Canada in 1975 and currently teaches at New England Conservatory in Boston. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Music in 2014. A series of short, contrasting movements, “’Rogue Emoji’ deals with dichotomies of disconnection and unity; dissolution (falling apart) and regeneration; communication (connection) and alienation,” Agocs writes. “Beneath the work’s light, humorous surface is something deeper: An exploration of order versus control, and the embrace of chaos.”

HNM will start their program with “Life of Birds” written in 2009 by the award-winning composer Mason Bates, whose opera “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” (which had its premiere at the Santa Fe Opera) won a Grammy this year. In 2018, Bates was named Composer of the Year by Musical America. As both a DJ and a curator, he has created new spaces for experiencing new music. He also writes for film and teaches composition and music technology at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. “With recent heart-breaking news of how many birds are disappearing,” says Laupheimer, “this piece is particularly timely. Bates’s musical vocabulary is so engaging, and he makes wonderful use of the colors of the winds and strings in movements ranging from ‘The Caged Bird Sings’ to ‘On a Wire Mating Dance’.”

Visit for more on the group. For tickets and concert information, visit or call the Harwood Museum, 238 Ledoux Street, 575-758-9826, where there is a discount for museum members. A special ticket price of $12 (child/student rate) is available to anyone 30 and under for this show only. 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. TCMG’s 27th season continues through May, 2020.


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