Scenes from our opening concert

It was a rainy evening but a perfect one to head inside to listen to some chamber music. We were delighted to launch our “Tune In!” series with a pre-concert talk by guest artist Jesse Holstein. The event created a wonderful connection ahead of the performance which was a festive and optimistic launch of our second season!

10.4.14 concert (80)  10.4.14 concert (66) 10.4.14 concert (74)  10.4.14 concert (60) 10.4.14 concert (68)  Emmy at Tune In

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Many thanks to Melanie Saunders for these images.

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From Farm to the Grocery Store

Fresh from our retreat at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, EmmaLee and I made a pop-up appearance at A Market on Bellevue Avenue to play some violin duos ahead of our performance at Emmanuel. Amidst the fresh greens and pumpkins, we shared duos by Bach, Bartok, Leclair and a few fun fiddling treats.

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Many thanks to the staff at A Market and the cheerful customers who chatted with us on our visit! Keep your eyes peeled for stealthy Newport String Project pop-up appearances! Got an idea for a fun surprising place for a pop-up concert? Get in touch!  

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(Thanks to our friend from Common Fence Music Tom Perrotti for this shot! Check out the wonderful work of Common Fence Music here.)

– Ealain

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Avaloch Days

Ahead of our second season concert opener, EmmaLee, Jesse, Heath and I had the blissful opportunity to “retreat” to New Hampshire to the beautiful setting of Avaloch Farm Music Institute. Surrounded by the fall foliage in extravagant form, we found ourselves in the perfect place to explore the Haydn and the Beethoven together. With the busyness of day-to-day Newport String Project life temporarily on hold, we were ready to dig in to the process. Rehearsals featured nitty gritty decision making (“how about a down bow there?” “can we take a little time there?”), tried and trusted rehearsal techniques (rehearsing with backs to each other) and the occasional dramatic reading of Heath’s notes from his Beethoven Quartet Seminar at Rice.

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Rehearsal breaks often featured trips to the bottomless cookie jar (thanks Diane!), sunset canoeing and bonding with four-legged friends.

Resolving Rehearsal differences

Heath and Emmy resolving rehearsal differences

Jesse meets Jesse

Jesse meets Jessie

Posing with Snoozer

 

Posing with our muse Snoozer

Of course, few things will energize an appetite more than rehearsing string quartets. Happily, there was no need for alarm as Avaloch’s culinary maestro-in-residence Will took wonderful care of us all. Mealtimes were a highlight, not only for the food, but as a chance to connect with our colleagues from the other visiting chamber groups – the Diderot Quartet and the Meadowlark Piano Trio. In that shared experience of focused rehearsal, an easy and natural sense of camaraderie evolved. On the final night of our stay, each of the groups performed for an intimate audience of guests at Avaloch. From movements of Haydn and Mozart exquisitely performed on period instruments by the Diderot Quartet to a memorized performance of Ravel Piano Trio by the Meadowlark to the epic journey of op. 130, it was quite an evening and inspiration to treasure!

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Avaloch 2014

A heartfelt thanks to Fred, Deb, Will, Diane and all the staff at Avaloch for their work in bringing this special place to life…

-Ealain

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Introducing October’s Guest Artists

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Jesse Holstein, violin and viola

Jesse Holstein, violinist and violist, is a founding member of the Providence String Quartet, and has been a resident musician at Community MusicWorks since 2001. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, he completed his graduate studies with James Buswell at the New England Conservatory. He is an active recitalist, orchestral, and chamber musician, and serves as concertmaster of the New Bedford Symphony. In 2003, Jesse was invited to join the faculty of the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. He has performed as a guest artist at the Montana Chamber Music Festival and Bay Chamber Concerts. In 2009, he performed the Brahms Double Concerto (with PSQ cellist Sara Stalnaker) with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra.

 

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Heath Marlow, cello

Heath Marlow is the director of the Sistema Fellowship Resource Center at the New England Conservatory. Heath came to the Conservatory in 2012 after spending more than a decade associated with Community MusicWorks, a nationally recognized organization that builds transformative relationships between professional musicians, children, and families in Providence’s urban neighborhoods.
A Massachusetts native, Heath received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Shepherd School at Rice University, was a three-time fellowship recipient at the Tanglewood Music Center, and did graduate studies in cello performance at Boston University. A chamber music enthusiast, he has enjoyed many summers of making music in beautiful locations, including the Berkshires, Banff, Alberta and Blue Hill, Maine.

 

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Coming Soon – Opening Concert!

The Newport String Project is delighted to present the opening concert of its second season! We welcome back violist Jesse Holstein and cellist Heath Marlow as guest artists for a program of string quartets from youthful Haydn (op 1 no 1 “La Chasse”) and trailblazer-to-the-end Beethoven (op 130).

Donegal Quartet

 

The concert will take place at Emmanuel Church on Saturday October 4th. Performance starts at 7.30pm – however, early birds will be richly rewarded!

At 6.30pm, we will have our very first Tune In! event – guest artist Jesse Holstein present a talk taking us on a auditory adventure through these quartets, highlighting the not-to-be-missed sonic landmarks and sharing a few anecdotes about the lives and times of the composers. Light refreshments will be served. This will be the first of our new Tune In! series, aimed at inviting our audiences to engage more deeply with the Newport String Project concerts.  Details of each Tune In! event will be announced alongside the upcoming concert information.

All are welcome. Admission is by donation – all donations directly support our performing and educational programming. Community support is vital to sustaining the project. Donations are fully tax deductible.

Bring all your friends and help us celebrate the launch of our second season! We look forward to seeing you there!

Concert Details

The Newport String Project Season Opener

Beethoven and Haydn

October 4th 2014

6.30pm Tune In! Pre-concert conversation with guest artist Jesse Holstein.

Light refreshments will be served.

7.30pm Performance

Emmanuel Church

42 Dearborn St,

Newport RI 02840

All welcome. Admission by donation – please make a donation at the door, by mail or online!

 

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Season Finale Concert this Weekend!

Fellows Quartet Concert Flyer

Join us for a fabulously festive and vibrant program of chamber music at Trinity Church on May 24th at 3.30pm. The concert will be a celebration of the Newport String Project’s inaugural year and will look ahead to what’s in store for the project next year.

We are delighted to announce that this concert will bring together past and current fellows from Community MusicWorks (Providence) – young professional musicians who are at the leading edge of a field that explores the intersection between artistry, teaching and community.

PROGRAM
Bacewicz Quartetto for Four Violins (1949)
Ealain McMullin, EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, Shawn le Sure (CMW Fellow ’15), Rhiannon Banerdt (CMW Fellow ’15), violins

Beethoven String Quartet op 59 no 1 in F Major
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, Ealain McMullin, violins
Annalisa Boerner (CMW Fellow ’14), viola
Lauren Latessa (CMW Fellow ’14) cello

*Reception to follow*

Admission is free – Donations will be accepted at the door.

If you have attended our concerts this year, we look forward to seeing you again and hope you’ll bring some new friends with you! If this will be your first Newport String Project concert, that is great news too!

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Musical flights to the Norman Bird Sanctuary on March 29th

We are delighted to announce details of our next concert at the Norman Bird Sanctuary on March 29th at 7.30pm. (Did you catch the recent NY Times article on the farmhouse at the sanctuary?)

Joined by superb guest harpsichordist Paul Cienniwa, EmmaLee and Ealaín will be performing sonatas by Corelli and Bach as well as a few contemporary pieces. It promises to be a delectable evening of chamber music and dessert in front of a roaring fire at Mabel’s Studio.

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Guest Artist Paul Cienniwa

Tickets are $15 for Norman Bird Sanctuary members and $20 for non-members. All proceeds will go to support the mission of the Newport String Project and the Norman Bird Sanctuay.

It is sure to fill up early so register early and spread the word!  Click here to register for tickets.

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March Musician Spotlight – Aaron Jackson, piano

We are very much looking forward to this weekend’s concert at Channing Memorial Church and delighted to be joined by Providence-based pianist composer, Aaron Jackson.

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Composer and pianist Aaron Jackson offers programs that combine his original compositions and improvisations with selections from the classical repertoire, with an emphasis on music from the 20th century.  His 2012-2013 season featured works by Beethoven, Brahms and Bacewicz; Liszt, Janacek and Dvorak; Babbitt, Lieberson, and Shifrin; Scriabin, Copland and Rautavaara; all in programs that also featured his own music, including the premiere of his Piano Sonata. Recent collaborations include Chroma for jazz trumpeter Ben Holmes; a Trio for  violin, cello, and piano, with musicians Chase Spruill and Adrienne Taylor from Providence’s Community Music Works; and a set of 24 preludes for piano created in conjunction with a corresponding series of paintings by his wife, artist Prachie Narain Jackson, called The Book of Wandering.

Aaron grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where he discovered the music of local composer Milton Babbitt.  At age 15 he performed several Babbitt pieces at a solo recital of contemporary piano music, which was subsequently repeated at the Juilliard School in New York. Babbitt became a friend and mentor, encouraging Aaron to supplement his studies at Juilliard by working with pianist Robert Taub, who was then artist-in-residence at the Institute of Advanced Study; and to attend Princeton University, where he studied philosophy and music. He went on to study music theory and composition at Columbia University, where he met and became a student of pianist Marilyn Nonken.

More information is available at his website, AaronJacksonMusic.com

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March Musician Spotlight – Megan Koch, cello

We are delighted to be joined for this Saturday’s concert at Channing Memorial Church by cellist Megan Koch. Below is a lightning round interview with Megan and you can also read her complete bio over on our guest artist page.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your earliest days playing the cello?
I started cello when I was 4 years old.  I don’t remember too much from then… but I’m sure it involved a lot of Twinkles!  One of my favorite pictures that I have from back then is a picture of me holding my cello next to a Rubbermaid stool that served as my chair.
How did you know that you wanted to pursue cello professionally?
I didn’t know until I was a junior in high school that I really wanted to pursue cello as a profession.  Cello was always a big part of my life, but I think the turning point was an opportunity that I had to play in a masterclass for Yo-Yo Ma.  It was a great experience to play for someone I idolized, and he was so inspiring, friendly and down to earth.  It made me want to continue to learn and share music in a meaningful way.
I know that you are an avid chamber musician – is there a piece of chamber music that you haven’t played yet that would be on your dream list?
That’s a tough question.  I’ve performed a lot of chamber music but there’s still a lot to get to!  I think Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 1 would be a top contender on my dream list.
Can you share any insights into the music on this weekend’s concert? What can our audience look forward to?
I’ve really enjoyed working on these two pieces with Aaron, Ealain, and Emmy.  Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 1 No. 1 is an early piece of his, and while at first it seemed pretty straight forward, it’s been really interesting to delve further into it, and discover all the many nuances of the work.  The scherzo was a movement not common in piano trio repertoire at this time, and yet Beethoven added it here in his first published works.  The Bagatelles is a fun piece… listen for melodic material from the first movement to reappear throughout the composition.
What do you find is the biggest challenge in teaching music? The biggest reward?
My biggest challenge in teaching music is having kids see the big picture of hard work paying off.  The biggest reward is seeing kids get excited about music.
Is there anything that you weren’t taught by your music teachers but that you try to pass along to your own students?
That’s a hard one.  I’ve had amazing teachers and they’ve helped shape who I am as both a person and a musician.  One thing though that I’ve learned as I’ve gone along and would like to share with my students, is to find what makes you unique and special as a musician!

 

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Beethoven and Dvorak at Channing Memorial Church

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This Saturday March 8th at 7pm, the Newport String Project presents a concert featuring music by Beethoven and Dvorak at Channing Memorial Church, 135 Pelham St, Newport RI 02840. We are delighted to be joined by two superb guest artists, Megan Koch, cello and Aaron Jackson, piano.

For composers, choosing the work that will be your opus 1 is a very significant decision. You will have the opportunity to hear Beethoven’s remarkably forward thinking Piano Trio op 1 no 1.

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We will also be taking a jaunt through the sunny Bohemian countryside courtesy of Antonin Dvorak. His Malickosti (Bagatelles) op. 47 were written in the first twelve days of May 1878 for two violins, cello and a little foot-pedalled reed organ called a harmonium. The first of the bagatelles features a Czech folksong called Hraly Dudy (“The Pipes are Playing”) which returns throughout the piece – you can listen to the original Czech folksongIMG_4346_21.jpg here.

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All welcome – bring your friends!

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