The Miró Quartet, from left to right: William Fedkenheuer, John Largess, Daniel Ching and Joshua Gindele. (Contributed photo)

The Miró Quartet, from left to right: William Fedkenheuer, John Largess, Daniel Ching and Joshua Gindele. (Contributed photo)

Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival returns to Lopez

  • Sun Jul 28th, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

The 22nd season of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival begins soon. From Aug. 2-17, Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann presents an assemblage of internationally renowned performers in 10 concerts, concluding with the world premiere of “Home,” written by Kevin Puts for the Miró Quartet, in a concert titled “World Premiere Finale,” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, at Lopez Center.

As the lead commissioner, the chamber festival is the first venue for “Home.” Lopezian Bill Clemens, a longtime fan and supporter of this island music festival, is among those who contributed to underwriting the commission.

“I’ve loved [Puts’] music from the first piece I ever heard ‘River’s Rush,’ and then I heard his magnificent Symphony No. 4 at Mission San Juan Bautista with my daughter Sarah,” Clemens said. “It made a huge impact on us both. A dream I never expected to be realized was to help bring a new work of his to the world. When the opportunity came, I jumped at it!”

Puts explained, “The refugee crisis in Europe, documented in recent media by horrific stories and photos of displaced families, led me to compose ‘Home.’ Performing this fourth quartet of mine requires all four members of the quartet to retune their instruments to the pitches of a C-major harmony.”

This allows the quartet’s sound to resonate in a unique way when its open strings are played, thereby creating a sonic representation of home. The harmonic picture of home is replaced by disruption and the search for a new home, tentatively expressed as the refugees attempt to reestablish homes and renewed lives on a new foundation.

Friedmann acknowledged that the celebration of living composers and contemporary music is a step outside the box from traditional classical chamber music.

“As artistic director, I could have selected the standard Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven repertoire. It is always enjoyed and indeed forms a strong component of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival,” Friedmann explained. “But that isn’t all I want to do with the intimacy of chamber music, small ensembles playing directly to a small audience. I want you to listen, to draw your own feelings and conclusions.”

The concert opens with the Miró Quartet’s Daniel Ching, William Fedkenheuer, John Largess and Joshua Gindele performing Hugo Wolf’s enthralling Italian Serenade, followed by Los Angeles Philharmonic principal violinist Martin Chalifour and Slovenian guitarist Mak Grgić in a collection of rousing Romanian folk dances by Béla Bartók. Grgić plays three Macedonian pieces for solo guitar, and Chalifour joins Grgić again for “Csárdás” for violin and guitar by Vittorio Monti. The Miró Quartet then returns to the stage for “Home.”

In 2000, the Spoleto USA Festival and violinist Chee-Yun commissioned Puts to compose “Air” for solo violin and piano, and Chee-Yun performs the piece in this concert with pianist and OICMF Artistic Advisor Jon Kimura Parker. Chee-Yun again takes the stage with Ernest Chausson’s Concerto in D Major for violin, piano and string quartet. Kimura Parker is the pianist, and the quartet includes violinists Chalifour and Robyn Bollinger, violist Friedmann and cellist Julian Schwarz.

Learn more about the social, emotional and musical inspirations of “Home” at a preconcert talk with Puts at 4:30 p.m.; no ticket is required. Concert tickets are $30 for adults, $10 for 18 and under. Tickets are available at www.lopezcenter.org, Paper Scissors on the Rock and the Lopez Bookshop. Stage seating will be opened for the concert, and stage-seating tickets will be available at the door if tickets are sold out in advance. A reception is to follow. For more information, visit www.oicmf.org.