A Far Cry – October 1, 2012, 7:30 pm
A Far Cry stands at the forefront of an exciting new generation in classical music. According to the New York Times, the self-conducted orchestra “brims with personality or, better, personalities, many and varied.” A Far Cry was founded in 2007 by a tightly-knit collective of 17 young professional musicians – the Criers – and since the beginning has fostered those personalities, developing an innovative structure of rotating leadership both on stage and behind the scenes. By expanding the boundaries of orchestral repertoire and experimenting with the ways music is prepared, performed, and experienced, A Far Cry has been embraced throughout the world with more than two hundred performances, three albums, a powerful presence on the internet, and a European debut tour planned for 2012.
The Criers are proud to call Boston home, and maintain strong roots in the city rehearsing at their storefront music center in Jamaica Plain and fulfilling the role of Chamber Orchestra in Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Collaborating with local students through an educational partnership with the New England Conservatory, A Far Cry aims to pass on the spirit of collaboratively-empowered music to the next generation.
TAP – The Show – October 26, 2012, 7:30 pm
Most people tap their feet when they hear music, but some people make music by tapping their feet. TAP – The Show is a powerhouse production, celebrating the artistry of tap dance from around the globe.
Winner of the 2010 Heartbeat Award, the top IAAPA accolade, TAP – The Show is fueled by a non-stop explosion of rhythmic energy. Wrapped in dazzling costumes and backed by a soaring orchestral score, this cast of eight award-winning dancers and two singers travels seamlessly over decades of styles from Broadway and big band to world music and pop/rock.
Each section brings to life iconic tap moments of the past and creates brand new moments that amaze audiences. Included in this extravaganza are recreations of some of your favorite Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly numbers, Broadway showstoppers, smooth and sultry soft shoe, flamenco, tribal Irish Step and more.
Sing along and tap into the beat as you tap your feet with TAP – The Show!
Red Priest – March 4, 2013, 7:30 pm
Red Priest is the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil. This extraordinary acoustic foursome has been described by music critics as ‘visionary and heretical’, ‘outrageous yet compulsive’, ‘wholly irreverent and highly enlightened’, ‘completely wild and deeply imaginative’, with a ‘red-hot wicked sense of humour’ and a ‘break-all-rules, rock-chamber concert approach to early music’.
Founded in 1997, and named after the flame-haired priest, Antonio Vivaldi, Red Priest has given several hundred sell-out concerts in many of the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Moscow December Nights Festival, Schwetzingen Festival, Prague Spring Festival, Ravinia Festival, Bermuda Festival, and in most European countries, Japan, Australia, and throughout North and Central America. The group has been the subject of hour-long TV profiles for NHK (Japan) and ITV (UK) – the latter for the prestigious South Bank Show in 2005, which documented the launch of the Red Hot Baroque Show, an electrifying marriage of old music with the latest light and video technology.
In its regular line-up Red Priest comprises recorder player Piers Adams, violinist Julia Bishop, cellist Angela East and harpsichordist David Wright. In America and the Far East the group collaborates with the Canadian baroque/Cape-Breton violinist David Greenberg in place of Julia Bishop. These musicians have redefined the art of period performance, creating a virtual orchestra through their creative arrangements, performing from memory with swashbuckling virtuosity, heart-on-sleeve emotion and compelling stagecraft. Their repertoire ranges from obscure 17th century sonatas to the most famous works of Bach and Vivaldi, all presented in imaginative programmes with filmic titles: ‘Priest on the Run’, ‘Nightmare in Venice’, ‘Pirates of the Baroque’, ‘Johann, I’m Only Dancing’.
In 2008 Red Priest launched its own record label, Red Priest Recordings, which is now the home for all of the recordings of the ensemble and its members, and has attracted much attention in the music press worldwide. The label is distributed worldwide by Nimbus.
Sonos Handbell Ensemble – April 13, 2013, 7:30 pm
Consider a single instrument that takes many people to play. The individual notes in the handbell instrument each require a musician’s hand upon it, to place its tone in exact relationship with the other notes in the score, all in the shared context of rhythm, tempo, dynamics, articulation, and the overall musical line. This extremely complex process becomes second nature to the virtuoso handbell musician, who, like a pianist, must be aware of the character of the entire work, while controlling only a few of the tones in the instrument.
This instrument consists of a variable number of cast bronze bells fitted to flexible handles and equipped with clapper mechanisms that move in a single plane, striking the casting at only two places (forward and back). The tone of the bells can be varied by the tuning of the overtones at the time of manufacture, or by changing the density of the clappers at the strike points during performance. Similar tuned instruments with clappers can be made from other materials, such as handchimes made from aluminum, which produce different but compatible timbres. The differing sounds of the various makes of bells and chimes give the artistic director a symphonic palette of timbres to use separately and in conjunction to achieve his or her creative vision for the works under direction.
A set of handbells can range from a single octave (12 or 13 bells, depending on the accidentals) up to seven octaves, though most ensembles perform on five octaves, or 61 bells. Skilled handbell musicians can play as many as six bells at one time or in quick succession. Sonos performs on four and a half octaves of Malmarks, an octave of bass Schulmerichs, five octaves of Malmark handchimes, and five octaves of English-made Whitechapel handbells, as well as a variety of other percussion instruments.
The fascination in watching a superb handbell ensemble perform lies for many people in the completely intuitive relationship the dozen or so musicians must achieve with each other. A pianist or flutist, for example, has one brain controlling two hands and delivers a musical whole in his or her unique style. Imagine if the flutist joined a flute choir that divided up the grand staff, wherein each flutist was assigned sole responsibility for three or four of the notes, and was instructed to play only these notes where they occurred in the score and no others–and in addition, the flutists must all join their notes seamlessly, so that the result is musically pleasing! When many brains control many hands, the results can be less than pleasing if the ensemble is not trained to work together as one.
Sonosian musicians, having achieved their musical expertise on a variety of other instruments, are attracted to the complexity and dance-like challenge of performing on handbells. This instrument requires great personal discipline, a high level of cooperation, extremely good rhythm, and a willingness to become a component of a musical whole in which the communion of all parts is essential to the success of the ensemble. Audiences around the world are awed by the intimacy of this amazing musical relationship.
Presidio Brass – May 8, 2013, 7:30 pm
Hailing from “America’s Finest City”, San Diego, CA, Presidio Brass is a dynamic force in American brass chamber music. With a unique and exciting repertoire written specifically for the ensemble, Presidio Brass is committed to providing engaging musical programs as well as developing close ties to their audiences. They have concertized nationally, presenting concerts and educational outreach programs throughout the United States. Presidio Brass has performed in over 30 states and was on the touring roster for Nashville-based Live on Stage for the 2007-2008 season and asked back by popular demand for the 2009-2010 season after being noted as the finest brass group to have ever been associated with the organization.
The ensemble first came together with the primary mission to promote music education and appreciation in the next generation. That commitment continues to be exhibited each time Presidio Brass goes out on tour; every performance is coupled with a master class or school program for which the members of the quintet volunteer their time. Their educational programs have garnered the attention of newspapers throughout the country. In 2008, members of Presidio Brass furthered their educational goals when they formed a 501c3 non-profit music charity called Musicate the Mind. Through Musicate the Mind, funding is made available to promote educational programs, outreach performances and commissioning of new music.
In addition to performing as a brass quintet, Presidio Brass performs regularly as a part of Millennia Consort, California’s premiere brass, organ and percussion ensemble. Millennia Consort is active in commissioning new works as well as arrangements of popular classical music. The latest recording by the ensemble, Pictures of a New Beginning, includes commissions of new music by Craig Phillips, John Hirten and Jon Naples, and features a new arrangement of the orchestral favorite Pictures at an Exhibition by Presidio Brass’ tubist, Scott Sutherland.
To date, Presidio Brass has released three recordings: Stolen Moments, a collection of popular classical and jazz selections, Christmas Day, an assortment of well-known holiday favorites, and their newest recording of popular film music, Sounds of the Cinema.