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38th Annual Chamber Music Festival at the Ebenezer Theater, Easton
By James Carder
Chesapeake Music’s 38th Annual Chamber Music Festival will present six extraordinary concerts, June 9th through June 17th, at the historic Ebenezer Theater at 17 S. Washington Street in Easton. Built around the theme of “cultural crossings,” the program will delight both strings and piano music lovers and feature famous compositions for large ensembles at each concert, including a sextet on Opening Night, and a few surprises. Returning favorite musicians include artistic directors, cellist Marcy Rosen and violinist/violist Catherine Cho, clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom, oboist Peggy Pearson, pianists Diane Walsh and Robert McDonald, and flutist Tara Helen O’Connor.
A Festival first, each week will feature a different string quartet ensemble. During week one, the world-renowned Orion String Quartet will perform Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat Major and Bartók’s Quartet No. 6 in d minor. Sadly, this will be one of the last opportunities for Eastern Shore chamber music patrons to see the Orion String Quartet perform. The Quartet will retire at the end of the 2023-24 season, concluding an illustrious 36-year partnership.
The second week of the festival will feature the youthful Terra String Quartet presenting Franck’s Piano Quintet in f minor, with Diane Walsh, and Britten’s Quartet No. 2 in C Major. The Terra Quartet was a finalist at the 2022 Chesapeake Music International Chamber Music Competition. The Quartet went on to win both the grand prize and the gold medal at the prestigious 2022 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Rounding out the performance roster at this year’s Festival are Randall Goosby, violin; Ara Gregorian, violin/viola; Hye-Jin Kim, violin; Natalie Loughran, viola; and Scott St. John, violin/viola. Randall and Natalie performed in Easton at the February Chesapeake Chamber Music Interlude Concert. Randall is enjoying a stellar international career performing with major symphony orchestras, including the London Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. And Natalie is similarly positioned for international success, having been awarded First Prize along with the Audience Choice Award at the 2021 Primrose International Viola Competition. Together, they will perform in Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in g minor, Paul Wianko’s “Cities of Air” for Flute and String Quartet, Boccherini’s Flute Quintet in B-flat Major, and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major.
Hye-Jin Kim, Scott St. John, and Ara Gregorian will perform in Dvořák’s sublime String Quintet No. 3 in E-Flat Major, the “American,” and Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B-flat Major. Virtuoso violinist Hye-Jin Kim was awarded First Prize at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and subsequently won the Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Violinist-violist Scott St. John is the Director of Chamber Music at The Colburn School in Los Angeles and Concertmaster of the innovative ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas. Violinist-violist Ara Gregorian also enjoys a prominent career, performing with orchestras and at international festivals worldwide. He is the founder and artistic director of the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina and Distinguished Professor in Music at East Carolina University, where he has been on the violin/viola faculty since 1998.
For complete program listings and to purchase tickets, go to chesapeakemusic.org.
Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival 2023 schedule:
Friday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.
Festival Opening Extravaganza!
Saturday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 11, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Drama and Delight
Friday, June 16, 7:30 p.m.
Soulful Story Telling
Saturday, June 17, 7:30 p.m.
June 7 and 14, 10:00 a.m.
Free Open Rehearsals