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Strathmore Presents Storied Strings: The Violin in America

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Natalie MacMasterNORTH BETHESDA, MD – In previous seasons Strathmore has explored the piano, the guitar and great American composers—in its mapping of the influences that have forged American music, the arts center turns next to the violin with Storied Strings: The Violin in America, a season-long survey of violin repertoire that celebrates the role of the instrument in the development of American musical tradition. The 11-concert series includes performances in the Music Center and Mansion, as well as education events to better acquaint audiences with this pivotal influence on American music. For additional information and tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org

“The violin, or fiddle, is the common denominator in Native American, African American and European American music. It also forms a link between classical and traditional music,” said Strathmore Artistic Director Shelley Brown. “Capable of evoking emotion across a wide range and depth, the violin and the impressive masters who play this beloved instrument will fill Strathmore’s Storied Strings: The Violin in America with the music of our heritage, representing an expansive repertoire that is elegant, joyous, romantic, exploratory and ever-evolving.”

The violin, referred to in some musical traditions as a fiddle, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy, with additional modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries. Heavy influence on early American fiddle playing came from Irish and Scottish fiddle styles, in addition to the more refined traditions of classical violin playing. The many European influences that accompanied the violin across the Atlantic lead to its dispersion across a wide variety of American musical styles, such as jazz and blues, folk music, bluegrass, rock and roll and metal—each with its own nuances of technique, musicianship and presentation.

Strathmore’s Storied Strings: The Violin in America touches upon the many inflections of this instrument. When associated with folk music, many violin songs were never penned, but rather were passed down by ear through successive generations of musicians. A highlight concert of the series celebrates this tradition: with legendary violinist and composer Mark O’Connor performing a holiday concert of traditional Appalachian music. In addition, the vivacious fiddler Natalie MacMaster explores the influence of her native Cape Breton on New England musical styles. In a new concert program premiered at Strathmore, renowned fiddler Alasdair Fraser returns to the Music Center, leading Natalie Haas, Jay Ungar, Molly Mason and Dirk Powell in a survey of traditional American folk music.

Artists Jennifer Koh and the Marian Anderson String Quartet will reach back to the violin’s rich classical roots, with Koh juxtaposing traditional music with contemporary arrangements, while the Quartet presents a concert of classical music and spirituals. The adaptability of the violin is underscored with a jazz performance by the Aaron Weinstein Trio, progressive modern violin by Kristin Lee and the National Philharmonic with Elaine Urioste. Emerging performers such as Casey Driessen, Chelsey Green and the Carpe Diem String Quartet provide a glimpse of the future of the instrument, with experimental arrangements, new works and unconventional technique.

Audiences will experience the spectrum of violin influence during the following concerts in Strathmore’s Storied Strings: The Violin in America series:

Casey Driessen: The Singularity Tour
Friday, October 26, 2012
8 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $15 (Stars $13.50)
Fiddler Casey Driessen makes the Washington, D.C. debut of his new Singularity project at Strathmore. The Grammy-nominee mixes his signature percussive fiddle style with digital loops and effects, building each show layer by layer in real time in front of the audience. While audiences can see him routinely on tour with the masterful Béla Fleck and The Flecktones, for this performance Driessen comes only with a fiddle and pedal board for an intimate evening of unconventional music.

Jennifer Koh, violin
Bach And Beyond, Part 1
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 (companion performance on Thursday, February 28, 2013)
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $30 (Stars $27) (price per concert)
Johannes Sebastian Bach: Partita No. 3 in E Major
Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata No.2 in a minor, “OBSESSION”
Kaija Saariaho: Nocturne
Esa-Pekka Salonen: “lachen verlernt”
Bach: Partita No. 2 in D Minor

This two-performance adventure examines the essential influences of Bach on composers through the centuries. This performance begins and ends with Bach Partitas, embracing works by Ysaÿe, Saariho and Salonen. The New York Times said of her performance of Bach and Beyond, Part 1, “Ms. Koh played both with the intensity they demand, in beautifully shaped, mesmerizing readings.” This performance is the Washington, D.C. debut of Koh’s Bach and Beyond series.

Natalie MacMaster
Christmas In Cape Breton
Thursday, December 6, 2012
8 p.m.
Music Center at Strathmore
Tickets $28–$58 (Stars $25.20–$52.20)
Canadian fiddler Natalie MacMaster performs traditional Scottish and Irish holiday tunes that invoke the traditions of her native Cape Breton with foot-tapping rave-ups, heart-wrenching ballads and world-class step dancing combined with fiddling fireworks. “As congenial, funny and irresistible a host as you’re likely to find on a concert stage” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Mark O’Connor Strings Method for String Teachers
Thursday, December 13, 2012
2-3:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore (Shapiro Music Room)

The virtuoso violinist, equally at home in folk and classical music, reveals his American Classics strings teaching method and makes the case for classical music training that explores the American canon as will as improvisation and jams. For orchestra directors and string teachers.

Free, but registration required. Contact Lauren Campbell at lcampbell@strathmore.org or call (301) 581-5145 to register.

Mark O’Connor: An Appalachian Christmas
Thursday, December 13, 2012
8 p.m.
Music Center at Strathmore
Tickets $25–$55 (Stars $22.50–$49.50)

Mark O’Connor shares the holiday songs of his childhood—a wondrous mixture of Christmas carols and traditional American music that encompass the spirit of An Appalachian Christmas. O’Connor’s celebration is hailed by critics as “a model of intelligence, heart and soul” (Los Angeles Times).
Audience members can join a pre-concert lecture with Mark O’Connor at 6:30 p.m. providing an overview of the instrument. Free with concert ticket.

Fiddle Workshop with Alasdair Fraser
Thursday, January 10, 2013
7-9 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore, Music Room
Tuition $15 (Stars $13.50)

Musicians fine-tune their fiddling with master musician Alasdair Fraser, watching and listening as he coaches players of all skill levels, gaining exciting insight into what makes this instrument truly sing.

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
and Dirk Powell
Friday, January 11, 2013
8 p.m.
Music Center at Strathmore
Tickets $18–$42 (Stars $16.20–$37.80)

In a brand new program to be premiered at Strathmore, renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser returns to the Music Center to lead acclaimed performers on a journey of traditional American music. Fraser, “one of the most respected of all exponents of the Scots fiddle” and cellist Natalie Haas are together “a positive joy” (The Scotsman). Fiddlers Jay Ungar and Molly Mason have won fame for their performances on Ken Burns’ The Civil War and A Prairie Home Companion.Together they create, “Music that is simple and overwhelming...joyful and full of feeling” (Garrison Keillor). They will perform with Dirk Powell, who has lent his Applachian heritage sound to musicians including Loretta Lynn, Sting, Jack White, Jewel, T-Bone Burnett and Linda Ronstadt.

Carpe Diem String Quartet
Thursday, January 17, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $25 (Stars $22.50)

Korine Fujiwara: Fiddle Suite Montana

This vibrant young quartet is committed to transforming the chamber music experience by exploring lost or rarely heard music. Hear this innovative ensemble in the Washington area premiere of Korine Fujiwara’s Fiddle Suite Montana. The group’s musical passion has led them down the paths of gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock and jazz inspired music, but the quartet is equally at home with the traditional string quartet repertoire. Earning critical acclaim for its innovative programming, electrifying performances and passion for audience engagement, Carpe Diem can call itself “the premiere American indie string quartet” with authority.

Concertgoers can join a free post-concert discussion with the artists.

Aaron Weinstein Trio
Thursday, February 7, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $30 (Stars $27)

Named a “rising star violinist” by Downbeat, Aaron Weinstein is quickly earning a reputation as one of the finest jazz violinists of his generation. As a featured soloist, Aaron has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blue Note, the Iridium and in 2013 makes his Strathmore debut. He has performed and recorded with jazz icons including Les Paul, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Scott Hamilton, Dick Hyman, Dave Frishberg, Ken Peplowski, Houston Person, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross.

Jennifer Koh, violin
Bach And Beyond, Part 2
Thursday, February 28, 2013 (earlier companion performance on Wednesday, November 14, 2012)
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $30 (Stars $27) (price per concert)
Anna Clyne: “In Hommage”
Johannes Sebastian Bach: Sonata No. 1 in G Minor
Béla Bartók: Sonata For Solo Violin
Missy Mazzoli: Dissolve, Oh My Heart
Bach: Partita No. 1 in B Minor

The second installment of Jennifer Koh’s Bach and Beyond series explores the influences of Bach on composers through the centuries, mixing works by contemporary American composers Anna Clyne and Missy Mazzoli with essential works by Bach and Bartók. The performance features “In Hommage,” a new work by Anna Clyne in homage to Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G Minor.

National Philharmonic
Elena Urioste, Violin
Piotr Gajewski, Conductor
Saturday, March 2, 2013
8 p.m.
Music Center at Strathmore
Tickets $28–$84 (no Stars pricing available for this concert)
Russell Peck: Signs of Life II
Steven Gerber: Two Lyric Pieces (world premiere)
Andreas Makris: Violin Concerto
Leonard Bernstein: Serenade

Violinist Elena Urioste, recently selected by Symphony Magazine as an emerging artist to watch, brings her formidable talent to this concert featuring American works for violin.

Kristin Lee, violin
Thursday, April 4, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $25 (Stars $22.50)
John Corigliano: Sonata for Violin and Piano
William Bolcom: Sonata for Violin and Piano
George Gershwin: 3 Preludes
George Walker: Sonata for Violin and Piano
Ryan Francis: Remix
Samuel Barber: Conzone, Op. 38

This 25-year-old violinist has won praise for her “rare stylistic aptness” and “mastery of tone and rare mood” (The Strad). To her Strathmore debut she brings a vivid and varied program of works by William Bolcom, John Corigliano and young upcoming composer Ryan Francis. Since her explosive concerto debut with Orchestra Atlanta at age 10, she has appeared as soloist with major orchestras throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the Saint Louis Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Albany Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic, Alexandria Symphony, Ural Philharmonic of Russia, Pusan Philharmonic and the Korea Broadcast Symphony.

Marian Anderson String Quartet
Thursday, April 25, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
Tickets $30 (Stars $27)
William Banfield: Con Tone for String Quartet
Coleridge Taylor Perkinson: String Quartet based on Calvary
Spirituals Arranged by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock
Antonin Dvorák: American Quartet

The Marian Anderson String Quartet presents “big sound and bold theatricality” (Los Angeles Times) in a program of works by William Banfield, Coleridge Taylor Perkinson and Antonin Dvorák, as well as spirituals arranged by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock, part of the ensemble’s ongoing project to revitalize the Negro Spiritual as a concert work.

Chelsey Green, violin
Thursday, May 2, 2013
7:30 p.m.
Mansion at Strathmore
World premiere by composer Robert Miller
Tickets $20 (Stars $18)

This multifaceted performer is equally at home in classical, jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop, creating and championing original music that crosses genres to create its own new groove. A former Strathmore Artist in Residence, Chelsey Green returns to perform the world premiere of a new work by composer Robert Miller, commissioned by Strathmore.

Strathmore presents and produces exemplary visual and performing arts programs for diverse audiences; creates dynamic arts education experiences; and nurtures creative ideas and conversations that advance the future of the arts. The hallmark of the arts center is the Music Center at Strathmore, a 1,976-seat concert hall and education complex. The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda, MD, one half-mile north of the Capital Beltway and immediately adjacent to the Grosvenor-Strathmore station on Metro’s Red Line. For those attending a ticketed performance at the Music Center at Strathmore, parking in the Metro garage is complimentary with your ticket.
The second installment of Jennifer Koh’s Bach and Beyond series explores the influences of Bach on composers through the centuries, mixing works by contemporary American composers Anna Clyne and Missy Mazzoli with essential works by Bach and Bartók. The performance features “In Hommage,” a new work by Anna Clyne in homage to Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G Minor.

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