Erika Sanger –

DATE: July 8, 2024
TITLE: Opera House Arts Proudly Presents the DOWNEAST NEW MUSIC’s New program “Community” July 17, 2024

DownEast New Music, an organization dedicated to bringing dynamic performances of chamber music by living composers to DownEast Maine, will appear at the Stonington Opera House on Wednesday, July 17th at 7pm. With a new program entitled Community, DownEast New Music celebrates the exciting and diverse body of music by young American composers.

Wednesday, July 17 at 7:00 pm / Stonington Opera House / Stonington
Tickets $20
All Hancock County Students (K-12) attend all live performances for free, please call ahead to reserve.

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).

About the program:

Community is built around the WORLD PREMIERE of Waldoboro-based composer/pianist Conrad Winslow’s (Homer, AK, b. 1985) new work A 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 violin, cello, piano, and percussion 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.

About the Artistic Directors:

Cellist Clare Monfredo grew up in Seal Harbor, Maine, and 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, A Far Cry, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Festival appearances include Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Tanglewood Music Center, Lucerne Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, and Kurt Weill Fest. Clare holds a BA in English from Yale University and a masters from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, where she received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award. She attended the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. Clare lives in Brooklyn, New York where she is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Hunter College. She is co-founder and co-artistic director of DownEast New Music.

Praised as a “master of his instrument” (Fanfare), bassist Edward Kass performs internationally, specializing in contemporary performance. A graduate of the San Jose Unified Public School system, Kass is noted for his “phenomenal musicianship” (Which Sinfonia) and “terrific precision” (The Arts Fuse). A frequent performer with groups including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, and Sound Icon, recent appearances include the Lucerne Festival, Tanglewood, and Elbphilharmonie Visions. Sought after as an artistic leader and pedagogue, Kass serves as a Contemporary Leader for Lucerne Festival, a role combining performance with curation and pedagogy. With pianist and music therapist Renate Rohlfing, Kass co-created “Tell Your Story”, a community-based, creative engagement project for Spoleto Festival USA to create sonic memoirs preserving the oral history of the greater Charleston area. Since 2016, he has performed with soprano Nina Guo as Departure Duo, which performs, commissions and researches music written for soprano and double bass. The duo released their “exquisitely beautiful” (Avant Music News) debut album, Immensity Of, in 2022.

About our Artists:

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.

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.

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.

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.



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