Live music.

DownEast New Music

Tickets: Adults  $20 | Under 17  $10 | Hancock County Students FREE
Location: Stonington Opera House

DownEast New Music is an organization dedicated to bringing dynamic performances of chamber music by living composers to DownEast Maine. DownEast New Music celebrates the exciting and diverse body of music by young American composers.

Community Center is built around the WORLD PREMIERE of Waldoboro-based composer/pianist Conrad Winslow’s (Homer, AK, b. 1985) new work Made from Stony Ground (2024), written for sextet of clarinet, cimbalom, piano, violin, cello, and double bass. Winslow uses monophonic textures and brings disparate voices together into near unison, reflecting new civic possibilities and the ways communities come together. As we listen to the various lines converging, we are inspired to think about what it means for diverging ideas and voices to join and become a singular whole.

With similar inspiration, Carlos Simon (Atlanta, GA, b. 1986) composed where two or three are gathered… drawing from his childhood attending a small church where coming together and holding space for community meant finding a larger purpose, even when numbers are small, like the intimate violin and cello duo the piece is scored for. Starting with a meditative character, the mood gradually transforms into one of jovial energy.

In Anthozoa (2018), Gabriella Smith (Berkeley, CA, b. 1991) finds community in the ocean, taking inspiration from the vibrant ecosystem that forms around coral reefs. Using clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, Smith recreates the soundscape present underwater, giving us an entrancing visit to another world – an imagined version of a far-off reality.

We visit another imagined reality in new cosmologies by Andean-Irish composer inti figgis-vizueta (Washington, D.C., b. 1993). Relying on the improvisatory and interpretive processes in her music, figgis-vizueta asks us to imagine a new history for indigenous people, one free from violence and colonialism. By imagining a new history for her community, figgis-vizueta gives us a chance to think of a new future as well.

By bringing together music written by young American composers from across the country, we look for common ground, shared experiences, and hope as we move forward into the unknown.

Co-artistic directors Clare Monfredo (cello) and Edward Kass (double bass) will be joined by Conrad Winslow (composer/pianist), John Diodati (clarinet), MuChen Hsieh (violin), and Nicholas Tolle (cimbalom). 

Clare Monfredo

Co-Artistic Director, CELLO

Clare Monfredo is a cellist originally from Seal Harbor Maine, currently living in Brooklyn, New York where she is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the CUNY Graduate Center and is the recipient of the Graduate Center Fellowship. Clare has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader all over the world, collaborating with a diverse array of notable artists, from Patricia Kopatchinskaja to Jon Batiste, to groups such as Ensemble Intercontemporain and the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Clare holds a bachelor of arts in English from Yale University where she graduated with distinction and was a multiple-time winner of the Yale Friends of Music competition. She holds a masters of music degree from the Shepherd School at Rice University as a recipient of the Graduate Arts Award from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation where she studied with Norman Fischer, and studied with cellist Peter Bruns at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Clare’s other significant mentors include David Gebor, Julia Lichten, and Natasha Brofsky. Clare has appeared at Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Lucerne Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Cello Akademie Rutesheim, Kurt Weill Fest, and Music Academy of the West. She was awarded the Karl Zeise Memorial Prize by the Tanglewood Music Center, the Gebor Rejto Prize from Music Academy of the West, and the Chamber Music Prize from the Fontainebleau Conservatoire Américain.

Clare teaches cello at Hunter College and is a member of the Sonora chamber music collective, the Sprechgesang Institute multi-disciplinary artist collective, and the Victory Players, a western Massachusetts based Pierrot ensemble focused on commissioning new works.

Edward Kass

Co-Artistic Director, BASS

A graduate of the San Jose Unified Public School system, bassist Edward Kass has performed around the world as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, and soloist. Since 2016, he has performed with soprano Nina Guo as Departure Duo, a duo committed to performing, commissioning and researching music written for soprano and double bass. Recent duo performances include recitals at Spoleto Festival USA, Yellow Barn, Omaha Under the Radar, the Santa Cruz Museum and Art and History, and KM28. Their commissioning work was recently recognized by Chamber Music America. With Departure Duo, Kass has held teaching residencies at UC Santa Barbara, Brandeis University, and University of Georgia.

As a Lucerne Festival Contemporary Leader, Kass helped create the inaugural Lucerne Festival Forward in November 2022 and serves on the faculty of the Lucerne Festival Academy. He performs frequently with new music groups Ensemble Dal Niente and Callithumpian Consort. Additional festival appearances include fellowships at Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, and Spoleto Festival USA.

Kass completed his graduate and undergraduate studies at New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Todd Seeber and Lawrence Wolfe. In 2015, Kass received the New England Conservatory John Cage Award for Outstanding Contribution to Contemporary Music Performance.

Conrad Winslow

COMPOSER, PIANO

Conrad Winslow is a composer and pianist whose musical forms are bold, legible and emotionally direct. His music combines precipitous edges with subtle shifts of syntax. He draws influence from architects and playwrights to structure pieces like places to inhabit. Raised in Homer, Alaska, he first learned to make a world from scratch by watching his parents build a log cabin home in the woods. His work has been called “compelling” (New York Times) and described as a “scenic, boisterous and bumpy ride” (Albany Times Union). Winslow’s instrumental music has been commissioned by Alarm Will Sound, Carnegie Hall, and the American Composers Orchestra, among many others. He holds a Master’s Degree in Composition from the Juilliard School, where he studied with John Corigliano, an M.M. degree in film scoring from NYU, where he studied with Justin Dello Joio, and an Honors A.B. degree in Music from Rollins College, where he studied with Daniel Crozier.

John Diodati

CLARINET

John Diodati joined the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra as Principal Clarinet in the spring of 2021. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, The Florida Orchestra, and San Antonio Symphony. John was a Tanglewood Music Center fellow in 2012 and 2013 and has also held fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and Music Academy of the West. He completed his Master of Music and bachelor’s degrees as a student of Thomas Martin at New England Conservatory and pursued further study with Richie Hawley at Rice University. A native of Andover, Massachusetts, John began playing the clarinet at age seven.

MuChen Hsieh

VIOLIN

MuChen Hsieh, from Taiwan, joined the Houston Symphony as principal second violin in 2017. Hsieh regularly performs recitals, chamber music concerts, and in orchestras in the United States and Taiwan. An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated with James Dunham, Jon Kimura Parker, Kathleen Winkler, and Larry Wheeler. Her festival performances include New York String Orchestra, Sarasota Festival Orchestra, and Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra. She has also performed with the New York Philharmonic as a Zarin Mehta Global Academy Fellow. When Hsieh is home in Taiwan, she enjoys organizing chamber music concerts with friends. She also has a passion for coaching and leading local orchestra concerts during the summer in Taiwan with the concertmaster of the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Ray-Chou Chang. She studied with Kathleen Winkler at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and Malcolm Lowe and Masuko Ushioda at the New England Conservatory.

Nicholas Tolle

PERCUSSION

Nicholas Tolle is one of America’s premiere cimbalom artists. He has performed as soloist in Pierre Boulez’ Repons with the composer conducting at the Lucerne Festival in 2009, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Péter Eötvös in 2012, and with Steven Schick at UC San Diego in 2017. Based in Boston, MA, he plays regularly with such groups as the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, and Sound Icon, and with his own group, the Ludovico Ensemble. He has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, New York Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Ensemble Signal. He is featured performing Boulez’s Repons in the EuroArts documentary Inheriting the Future of Music: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy, and in Kurtág’s music for cimbalom and voice on soprano Susan Narucki’s 2019 album “The Edge of Silence”, which was nominated for a 2020 Grammy award. His recording of Kurtág’s Seven Songs from “The Edge of Silence” was named one of the best classical tracks of 2019 by the New York Times.

Tickets and concessions are available for purchase in the theatre lobby one hour before each show.