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 celebrates 25th Anniversary!

    The Taos Chamber Music Group’s (TCMG) Twenty-fifth Anniversary Season opens on San Geronimo Day, Saturday, September 30 at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos. A repeat performance is scheduled in the Museum’s Arthur Bell Auditorium for Sunday, October 1, and both begin at 5:30 p.m. Where else can one enjoy a Pueblo Feast Day celebration at a world heritage site, followed by world-class chamber music, all in the same weekend?
    “TCMG’s concerts are fittingly called ‘All-American’ and the idea came during the first days of the Trump administration, when what it has meant to be (or become) an American was upended,” says TCMG Director Nancy Laupheimer. “I wanted to put together a program that reflects the great diversity of cultural backgrounds and experiences in America, and that represent the rich melting pot which defines this country and its music.”
    The performances will be given by the world-renowned American String Quartet, and include Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet, Samuel Barber’s iconic “Adagio,” Robert Sirota’s “American Pilgrimage,” and Chinese-born American Zhou Tian’s “Viaje” with Laupheimer, who is also a flutist.
    The American String Quartet commissioned Robert Sirota to write “American Pilgrimage” after championing his first string quartet, “Triptych,” which was an impassioned response to the 9/11 tragedy. “American Pilgrimage” was conceived as a companion piece to “Triptych,” and is “a celebration of the beauty, pathos, and variety of both the land and culture of the US.” It is in four movements: “Morning: Waldo County, Maine;” “Mid-day: Mother Emanuel Church, Charleston, South Carolina;” “Sunset: High Desert, Santa Fe, New Mexico;” and “Evening: Manhattan.” The raw material is drawn from four sources: Protestant hymnody, Gospel music, Native American songs, and jazz. Sirota describes the work as an effort to “capture a glimpse of the epic quality of our country – the awesome diversity of its landscape and its people.” “American Pilgrimage” was premiered by the ASQ in September, 2016 at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where they are the faculty quartet-in-residence.
    Sirota, who was in Taos last fall for a TCMG program with ASQ violinist Laurie Carney, has had his works performed by orchestras, chamber music groups and festivals across the US and Europe. Recent and upcoming commissions include the American Guild of Organists, Alarm Will Sound, the Naumburg Foundation, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and yMusic. He is the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Information Agency, National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, and the American Music Center. Sirota will be in Taos to introduce his piece.
    The American String Quartet also suggested the inclusion of Samuel Barber’s heartrendingly beautiful “Adagio” from his “String Quartet, Opus 11” for the Taos program. The work was written in Europe in the summer of 1936, when Barber was there with his partner, the Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti. Barber orchestrated the “Adagio” of the “Quartet” for string orchestra in 1938 and sent a copy to Arturo Toscanini, who premiered it with the NBC Orchestra and championed it around the world. The movement went on to be used for the funerals of several heads of state and for many film scores. It has been called one of the saddest pieces ever written, and its poignancy continues to accompany many tragic contemporary events.
    Laupheimer discovered the recent work, "Vijae (Spanish for Voyage) for flute and string quartet by Chinese-born American, Zhou Tian. The piece was composed in 2015 for the Dolce Suono Ensemble with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Tian is known for seeking inspiration from different cultures and combining them in a seamless musical whole, receiving critical acclaim for his lush and distinctive musical voice. His compositions have been performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, his music has been broadcast on NPR and PBS, and recorded on the Cedille, Innova, and Pacific records.
    Of “Viaje,” Tian writes: “Experiencing Spain for the first time and learning about the stories of Spanish legend El Cid inspired me to compose this 9-minute thrill ride. I was particularly drawn to the relationship between Cid and his two daughters, as they went through an innocent childhood, separation, distrust, and finally, reunion. I imagined the flute as the voice of daughters, and the cello as the voice of father. A bittersweet musical dialogue between the two emerges in the middle of the piece, as if recalling a long-overdue conversation between father and daughters. It wasn’t until the piece was finished that I realized that I had unconsciously married my musical roots as a Chinese-American with my new found love of Spanish music.”
    Antonin Dvorak spent three years in the US, working as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. He composed what came to be called his “American” String Quartet in 1893 while spending the summer in Spillville, Iowa, where there was a large Czech immigrant community. It was written shortly after his “New World Symphony,” and both compositions reflect Dvorak’s response to the music he found in America, as well as the beauty of the natural setting in which he was writing.
    This is the first of seven programs on TCMG’s 2017-18 series that runs through May, 2018. Season tickets are still available for a discounted price at where there is more program, artist and ticket information. Tickets are also available through the Harwood Museum, 575-758-9826, where there is a discount for Alliance 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.


taoStyle Interview 2015

Taos News 10 Questions 2015