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

TCMG COVD Commissions + at the TCA! June 19, 7 p.m.

During the last year and a half of suspended live performances, the Taos Chamber Music Group launched a commissioning project that has resulted in three brand new pieces of music. Written for TCMG during 2020-21, the works reflect the time in which they were composed as well as personal connections nurtured between composers and performers.

On June 19 beginning at 7 p.m., the Taos Center for the Arts will co-present the performance of all three new works as well as additional compositions that TCMG will play in honor of Juneteenth. This will be the first live performance of any kind in the Taos Community Auditorium since the pandemic began. Tickets are available at tcataos.org/calendar.

TCMG is thrilled to present brand new music for its first live concert in months, and looks forward to the optimal sound, lighting and projection opportunities at the TCA. "There is nothing like the magical, synergistic energy that happens when a performance is shared with an attentive and receptive audience," says TCMG Director and flutist Nancy Laupheimer. "And the fact that there are world premieres on this program adds to that excitement!"

Two of the pieces will have their first performances – “Dark Path to a Luminous Garden” for horn, bassoon and electronics by Mexican composer Javier Alvarez, and a composition for violin with electronically transformed violin sounds and video. This work is by American composer Eve Beglarian and is based on the Emily Dickinson poem “The Spirit lasts – but in what mode.” The first of the three commissions, “Imaginary Companions” for flute and imaginary string orchestra (a backing track of sampled cello) by Pascal Le Boeuf, has been filmed at both the TCA and the Harwood Museum but never performed before a live audience.

The collaboration that Laupheimer had with Le Bouef, a multi-talented, award-winning composer and jazz pianist, was the genesis of the bigger commissioning project. “I had such a wonderful connection with Pascal that I wanted to give other TCMG musicians, who were without work and even musical inspiration, the opportunity to have a similar experience.” The parameters Laupheimer offered her colleagues were that the commission in some way reflected the unprecedented times we have been in and how they and the composers have been affected. For example, Le Boeuf focused on “our shared personal/internal worlds and how they overlap, and the human tendency to project parts of ourselves into our environments…so we can feel like we are interacting with others even when we're alone.”

Hornist Jeffrey Rogers and his partner bassoonist Samantha Brenner worked with internationally renowned Mexican composer Javier Alvarez whose music has been performed in the US by the Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Says Rogers “I have known Javier for over 20 years, and both Samantha and I have premiered pieces by him with Mexican orchestras. We chose Javier because we believe him to be Mexico’s best living composer, and we wanted to connect our many wonderful years playing in Mexico with our new life here in Taos. We viewed the past year of pandemic life as an opportunity to improve our physical and mental health hoping to come out in the end of the pandemic with a brighter outlook on life and the world, just as the title says, ‘A Dark Path to a Luminous Garden.’”

The newest piece is written for violinist extraordinaire and long-time TCMG member David Felberg. Felberg had met Eve Beglarian when some of her music was premiered in Albuquerque as part of the highly successful series he runs called Chatter. Felberg, Beglarian and Laupheimer did some initial brainstorming via Zoom, but as soon as Beglarian heard the direction of the project, she said “I have been waiting to write this piece!” She had been studying Emily Dickinson poems with a pandemic reading group and wanted to use for inspiration the poem Dickinson wrote as she was trying to make sense of the early death of her nephew. The poem begins:
The Spirit lasts - but in what mode -
Below, the Body speaks,
But as the Spirit furnishes -
Apart, it never talks -
The Music in the Violin
Does not emerge alone
But Arm in Arm with Touch, yet Touch
Alone - is not a Tune –

Felberg provided the violin sounds that are sampled in the backing track. A video of greenery moving under water with the current that Beglarian took while paddling the Otter River in Vermont will be projected during the piece. She has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “a humane, idealistic rebel and a musical sensualist.” Felberg calls the new work "meditative and beautiful." It uses the violin in unusual ways that underscore the lines in the Dickinson poem about touch (the awareness of which has been so present during the pandemic). Of the live and pre-recorded elements of the piece, Beglarian writes: "It would be great not to know which is which with your eyes closed… that’s how I’m making sense of the poem, that we make a distinction between body and spirit, but we don’t really understand where the distinction lies…"

In recognition of Juneteenth, Felberg will also play two “Rhapsodies” for solo violin by Jessie Montgomery, and Laupheimer will perform “Pray” for flute and a backing track of electronics inspired by sounds from places of worship by Allison Loggins-Hull. In addition, Rogers and Brenner will play movements from Alec Wilder’s “Duets” for horn and bassoon, a precursor of music written for this unusual duo combination. Wilder was known for combining jazz, popular and classical musical elements. And the program will include Rhonda Larson's joyful "Movin' On" for solo flute which Laupheimer will play in celebration of moving forward following this difficult time.

For more information on composers and artists, as well as plans for TCMG’s 29th season, go to taoschambermusicgroup.org. Visit the Taos Center for the Arts website tcataos.org for tickets.




 

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