A chance to look beyond

Taos Chamber Music Group concludes 26th season with 'Play It Forward'

By Tempo staff
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 5/8/19

The Taos Chamber Music Group's 26th season comes to a close with performances Saturday and Sunday (May 11-12), 5:30 p.m. at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street.Capping off a …

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A chance to look beyond

Taos Chamber Music Group concludes 26th season with 'Play It Forward'

Posted

The Taos Chamber Music Group's 26th season comes to a close with performances Saturday and Sunday (May 11-12), 5:30 p.m. at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street.

Capping off a series of compelling and celebratory concerts, TCMG's annual program highlighting younger musicians and newer music, "Play It Forward," features 24-year-old violist Alice Norris in works by her favorite living composer, Kenji Bunch, according to a press release.

She joins TCMG musicians Elizabeth Baker on violin, Sally Guenther on cello, TCMG executive director Nancy Laupheimer on flute and Pamela Viktoria Pyle on piano for Robert Schumann's "Piano Quartet in Eb Major" and Eric Ewazen's "Bridgehampton Suite" for flute and strings. The latter was inspired by Mozart, whose "Piano Trio in G Major" is also on the program.

"It seems fitting that we should end our season looking forward," Laupheimer said in a prepared statement, "and in fact, plans for our 27th season are quickly taking shape. We are especially looking forward to continuing to highlight exceptional young artists playing contemporary music."

Norris lives in Santa Fe, where she moved from Alaska at the age of 13. She started on Suzuki violin at age 6 and switched to viola at 11 "in order to give myself a new challenge in school ensembles." Norris recently completed degrees in viola performance at McGill University, and now is back in Santa Fe, where she appears frequently as a member of Santa Fe Pro Musica, Montage Music Society and Serenata of Santa Fe.

When asked to choose music by a living composer, Norris picked a fellow violist, Kenji Bunch, and will perform two of his short solo viola pieces with the evocative titles of "The 3 Gs" (2005) and "The Eternal Return" (2011). Bunch was Music from Angel Fire's composer-in-residence a couple of summers ago and has made a name for himself as a sought-after composer who combines a wide array of American musical genres and techniques, according to Laupheimer.

"The 3 Gs," for example, is a mashup of classical virtuosity and bluegrass music, she adds. Bunch's compositions are informed not only by nonclassical musicians but, as a frequent collaborator, by artists of other disciplines.

Another 21st century composition on TCMG's program is the delightful 2006 composition "Bridgehampton Suite" for flute, violin, viola and cello. Commissioned by the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival in New York for the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, it skillfully and playfully references Mozart's quartets for the same instrumentation, using direct quotes from the "A Major Flute Quartet" in the exuberant final movement.

Because of this connection, Laupheimer said TCMG's program will open with Mozart's effervescent "Piano Trio No. 6 in G Major, K. 564," written in 1788 for violin, cello and piano. The transition that had been occurring from harpsichord to the more dynamic pianoforte keyboard provided fertile ground for Mozart, and it was thought that this last of his piano trios started off as a sketch for a piano sonata. TCMG welcomes back pianist Pamela Viktoria Pyle, who will be featured in this work as well as Robert Schumann's immortal "Piano Quartet in Eb Major" for violin, viola, cello and piano.

As an award-winning soloist and chamber recitalist, Pyle has performed at Carnegie Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall and Wolf Trap, and with the Lincoln Center Great Performers series and the Casals Festival series in Puerto Rico. Pyle is professor of piano and collaborative piano at the University of New Mexico and artistic director of the New Mexico Chamber Music Festival, which brings young pianists and string players from around the world for an intensive week of chamber music study and performances.

Tickets are $25, and $12 for students.

For tickets and more information, visit taoschambermusicgroup.org. They are also on sale at the Harwood Museum by calling (575) 758-9826, where there is a discount for museum members. Lambert's of Taos, Doc Martin's, Martyr's and the Gorge Bar and Grill restaurants offer TCMG ticket holders dinner discounts after the concerts.

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