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
  
PRESS RELEASE

The Taos Chamber Music Group closes 24th season with multimedia collaboration “Transcending Time”

Traversing art forms and generations, the final program of the Taos Chamber Music Group’s 24th season, “Transcending Time” on May 13 & 14, 5:30 p.m. at the Harwood Museum, includes a collaboration with light and media artist Ethan Jackson and features young musicians, Eliana Razzino Yang (17) on cello and pianist Michelle Cann (28). In addition, flutist Gretchen Pusch returns to join Nancy Laupheimer for J.S. Bach’s “Trio Sonata, BWV 1029” and Yuko Uebayashi’s “Au-delà du temps” (Transcending Time) for two flutes and piano. Cann will also perform solo in Debussy’s “Images,” and Yang joins her for Beethoven’s “Cello Sonata No. 4” and plays George Crumb’s “Sonata for Solo Cello.”

These concerts are another example of the kind of innovative programming for which TCMG has become known. Uebayashi’s piece, written in 2002, explores different aspects of light. Its four movements include La lumière lointaine de nuit (Night's Distant Light), La lumière dansante (Dancing Light), La lumière blanche (White Light), and La lumière tournante dans le rêve (Light Turning in a Dream). “This descriptive, ethereal music lends itself so well to visual imagery,” says TCMG Director Nany Laupheimer. “When one of our supporters wanted to sponsor a collaboration with artist Ethan Jackson, I thought this would be a great piece for that.”

Jackson describes his contribution, which will accompany the live performances, as “a video projection of landscapes swept through time. The monumental images of familiar topography with sweeping weather and changing light will alter and shift in live response to the musical performance. Playing with time and light, the speed of the changing visual conditions will adapt to each unique musical performance.”

Jackson studied photography, earning a BA (1992) at Williams College and an MFA (1996) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has taught photography and related media full-time at Johnson State College (VT) and Reed College, among others. Recent projects and exhibitions have taken place at Gallery Sugata, Kyoto (a series of generative anamorphic photographs), Duke University (optical installation at the Divinity School), the Denver Library (an architecturally integrated work that brings views of the sky into the library’s vaulted Storytime Tower), the PASEO, the Harwood Museum of Art (an interactive video and light environment), the Museum of Outdoor Arts’ Reinventing the Image (photographs); UNC Charlotte’s Projective Eye Gallery (optical installation Five against Eight); also in Charlotte, The Light Factory (new works in video and light), and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP (optical installations as K2FF Artist-in-Residence).

Laupheimer will be joined on flute for the Uebayashi as well the Bach “Trio Sonata” by New York based flutist Gretchen Pusch who is making her third appearance with TCMG and has previously performed “Transcending Time.” She and Laupheimer have been friends since they were students at Boston University’s School of Music. Pusch went on to make her Carnegie Recital Hall debut as winner of the Artist International Competition and has appeared frequently in recital and as concerto soloist in North America, Europe and Asia. She is a member of the Dorian Wind Quintet, and has also performed with the American Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi and on Broadway.

On piano will be one of TCMG’s featured young artists, Michelle Cann. Laupheimer had heard a performance of the Uebayshi on YouTube by Cann and was struck by her sensitive musicality. She did a little research and found that coincidentally, Cann had spent a summer as a student at the Taos School of Music, so she had a previous Taos connection. Although she lives in Philadelphia, Cann was happy to return to Taos. She is fitting the visit into her busy schedule of appearing with orchestras, in recitals and as a chamber musician throughout the US, China and South Korea at premiere concert halls including the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Cann received her Bachelor and Master degrees in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and received an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she served as one of the inaugural fellows of ArtistYear. Her summer festival appearances include the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, Perlman Music Program and Artist in Residence at Pianofest in the Hamptons. She is a faculty member at the Luzerne Music Center as the Coordinator-Instructor of Piano Performance and Chamber Music.

“I asked to Michelle to play Debussy’s ‘Images’ because it is such an exquisite solo piano work,” says Laupheimer,” but also because of its visual references that I thought fit well into our program.” Debussy once said “I love pictures almost as much as music,” and the first movement of “Images,” “Reflets dans l’eau” (Reflections in the Water), especially, depicts a tableau of ripples in a pond.

An even younger artist, the extraordinary cello prodigy Eliana Yazzino Yang, will join Cann for a Beethoven cello sonata and will also be featured in George Crumb’s dramatic “Sonata for Solo Cello,” a piece that she has played for the esteemed composer. Yang recalls, “He (Crumb) commented on tempo and made some suggestions about expression or dynamics but was generally very supportive and wanted me to develop my own interpretation of his music. Afterwards, we went to his studio and he showed us what he had been composing at the piano just that morning - his famous handwriting was even more beautiful in person that the photos I had seen. It was an afternoon that I’ll never forget.”

At age seventeen, Yang has already performed solo recitals in London, Paris, Rome, New York, Helsinki, and Philadelphia, and concertos with orchestras at the Incontri di Canna Music Festival, Newburyport Festival Baroque Orchestra, Temple University Pre-College, New England Suzuki Institute, and Musicopia String Orchestra. She has also been part of Harrisburg’s Market Square rising star series and received first prizes in the Philadelphia All City Orchestra Concerto Competition, Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow Competition, and Vivace Competition. Yang has collaborated with members of the Vermeer, Tokyo, Audubon, Aizuri, and Momenta string quartets, Ensemble Epomeo, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), and has performed in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with the New York String Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Laredo.

This is the last set of concerts of TCMG’s 24th season. The 25th anniversary season will begin September 30 with the American String Quartet. For tickets and more information, visit taoschambermusicgroup.org or call the Harwood Museum at 575-758-9826.


 

taoStyle Interview 2015

Taos News 10 Questions 2015


A GEM OF CHAMBER MUSIC IN NEW MEXICO, 2016 by Lorenne Gavish

 

Twenty-four years ago the Taos Chamber Music Group (TCMG) was a small gathering of local New Mexico musicians; today its roster has included close to a hundred artists of all disciplines, some of whom have crossed the ocean and the continent from as far away as Norway, New York City and Los Angeles. The Resident Chamber Music Group of the esteemed Harwood Museum of Art, TCMG is a perfect fit for the intimacy and stellar acoustics of the museum's Arthur Bell Auditorium, where it gives the bulk of its performances.

However, the backbone of this organization is not simply its talented musicians and great hall, but rather its visionary Director, Nancy Laupheimer, who has brought audiences unusually creative programming while still honoring chamber music traditions. Time and again Laupheimer has proven TCMG one of the most innovative and steadfast classical music groups in all of New Mexico, and a gem of the small, renowned artist town of Taos.

At each concert, the faces of the audience slowly change. Some close their eyes, others smile, experiencing seemingly transcendent moments. They are held gently in the grips of treasured masterpieces or delighted by the unexpected. It may seem like a challenge: how does an organization run for nearly a quarter of a century and continue to bring something new and so moving to every concert? According to Laupheimer the most important thing is simple, “intriguing music and variety in every program,” but the most important piece Laupheimer brings is her defining ear; her ability to create what she calls “a connecting thread.” A thread not many of us could find and create out of thin air, but each of us are able to experience fully at her concerts.

She relishes in the process of coming up with descriptive themes for each program. Often they are informed by a single piece or word, a concept or phrase that she feels is musically suggestive. In turn, those kernels inspire her to search for other music that connects to the thematic idea. On top of her duties as Director, Laupheimer spends hours listening to and reading about various types of music, scouring the web to educate herself when she hears or learns about something new.

Twenty-four years have refined Laupheimer’s ability to move quickly through this process and identify what pieces will flow together. The era of the Internet has had a huge impact and been an incredible resource, enabling her to “quickly peruse works and get a sense of timing and balance.” It is clear that only years of experience can allow one person the ability to know and create a program that does not yet exist and the musicians who will bring it to life. Laupheimer remarks, “I’m often thinking of the specific performer when I pick a work that will feature them, and one that draws on their personal strengths as a musician.” But there is another piece to this method. According to the Director, the town of Taos has very few classically trained musicians, but is bursting with creative people working in many other artistic mediums. She is always looking for opportunities to collaborate in multidisciplinary presentations as part of TCMG's series, expanding and enhancing the experience for all involved as well as connecting to the Taos community.


A large part of developing these programs is conversational - allowing other artistic approaches to inform the final product. This will be on full display in the twenty-fourth season’s first program, “Credo.” TCMG's trademark collaborative spirit brings together an evening of meaningful juxtapositions: music and cultures of the East and West, visuals, and oral history all meet to become one. Composer Andrea Clearfield, a frequent resident at the Wurlitzer Foundation, joins TCMG to play - and speak about - original arrangements for voice, piano, strings, flutes and percussion, inspired by her own Tibetan music fieldwork in the northern Himalayan region. In addition, the audience’s ears will be able to explore Chen Yi’s "Tibetan Tunes" for piano trio, Laupheimer's own arrangement of a "Tibetan Prayer Song" for flute and strings plus singing bowls, and American composers Ned Rorem’s "Four Prayers" for flute and piano and Kevin Puts' "Credo" for string quartet. What may seem unexpected in a chamber music concert is precisely what audiences have come to expect when TCMG takes the stage.

Every musical season, September through May, Laupheimer builds a bridge between the past and the present. Each concert becomes a lesson in classical traditions and the future of chamber music. The late October concert, "Parting the Veil," features world-class violinist, Laurie Carney, in music written for her as well as one of Beethoven's masterpieces for violin and piano. In keeping with honoring the great composers of the past, this December’s program will see the return of virtuoso pianist Gleb Ivanov in an evening that sets the tone for the holiday season. The group's holiday concerts have focused on musical periods such as Baroque and Classical; countries such as Spain, or a single composer such as Bach and Mozart. It's a tradition that Laupheimer has enjoyed following over the years. This year, the all-Schubert program indulges audiences in a celebration of his genius.  

In February, “Reflections” celebrates the 80th birthday of Phillip Glass, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, and a man who studied and respects all of the greats while challenging the genre into its own future. Highlights of “Reflections” will include “Orbit”, made famous when director Spike Jonez premiered the piece, pairing Yo-Yo Ma with contemporary Hip Hop Dancer Lil’ Buck, in a genre defying performance. TCMG cellist James Holland will play the piece alongside a mesmerizing local leader in dance, Amber Vasquez.

More exciting performances run through the spring of 2017 as TCMG continues to offer the chance to witness astonishing collaborations and portrait-esque programs. You can find a list of their entire season schedule below. But don’t wait to listen to chamber music. Laupheimer and company’s ultimate goal is to spread the beauty of this living musical tradition. To discover more of the new wave of contemporary talent out there, turn on Performance Today, aired on on KUNM from 9-11 a.m, which plays live performances from around the world, both chamber and orchestral. Of course, Laupheimer suggests YouTube and Spotify, which are incredible tools to discover new artists and works.

However, to truly feel the wonderment of chamber music there is no alternative to attending one of the many live performances happening in New Mexico. Laupheimer has kept her finger on the pulse of these opportunities for years, often singing the praise of the remarkable summer time concerts in Taos. She says the Taos School of Music and Music from Angel Fire “are not to be missed.” It’s these opportunities that leave you with that same feeling you get from looking out at the peaks of our mountains, the vastness of our plain, the colors of our sunsets. Whether a newcomer or a seasoned audience member, treat yourself to the beauty and passion of the classics; but also branch out, try something you’re not sure you’ll like, close your eyes, listen, and let the music hold you.


TAOS CHAMBER MUSIC GROUP'S 24th SEASON LINEUP:

Taos Chamber Music Group presents "Credo"
September 17 & 18, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum

Taos Chamber Music Group presents "Parting the Veil"
October 29 & 30, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum

Taos Chamber Music Group presents "Schubert for the Season"
December 17 & 18, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum

Taos Chamber Music Group presents “Reflections”
February 3 & 4, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum

Taos Chamber Music Group presents "Middle Ground”
March 4 & 5, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum

Taos Chamber Music Group presents "Play it Forward”
April 15 & 16, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum

Taos Chamber Music Group presents "Transcending Time”
May 13 & 14, 5:30 p.m. Harwood Museum