Essex Winter Series will present four diverse and exciting concerts in 2015, including two programs of classical chamber music, a concert of jazz from the early part of the twentieth century, and — for the first time — a world-renowned chamber chorus. Programmed by EWS artistic director Mihae Lee and newly-appointed Jazz Impresario Jeff Barnhart, these concerts offer world-class performing artists and an impressive array of styles and genres.
The first concert, StringFest2, takes place on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. 2015 Fenton Brown Emerging Artists, the Attacca Quartet, will share the stage with three members of the Amphion Quartet — who performed in the first StringFest in 2011 as the EWS Emerging Artists— and the renowned violinist Erin Keefe. The members of the Attacca Quartet are Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tanagawa, violin; Luke Fleming, viola; and Andrew Yee, cello. The members of the Amphion Quartet who will perform in this program are Katie Hyun, violin; Andy Wei-Yang Lin, viola; and Mihai Marica, cello.
The concert begins with three musicians of the Amphion Quartet performing Franz Schubert’s String Trio in B flat major, followed by the Amphion Quartet in a performance of Edvard Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor. After intermission, the two groups joined by Erin Keefe will perform the exciting Octet for Strings in E flat, written in 1825 by the remarkably precocious sixteen-year-old Felix Mendelssohn.
Three concerts, all Sundays at 3 p.m., follow the season opener on Jan. 11. The Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert on Feb. 8 at Valley Regional High School will feature Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. On March 1, Chanticleer, “ An Orchestra of Voices” will perform a program entitled “The Gypsy in My Soul” at Old Saybrook High School. The final concert, on March 29 at Valley Regional High School, will be an exciting program of piano trios, with Artistic Director and pianist Mihae Lee, violinist Chee-Yun and cellist Julie Albers.
StringFest2 is co-sponsored by Guilford Savings Bank and Essex Meadows.
All tickets to Essex Winter Series concerts are general admission. Individual tickets are $35; four-concert subscriptions are $120, which represents a $20 saving over the single-ticket price for four concerts. Tickets may be purchased on the EWS website,www.essexwinterseries.com, or by calling 860-272-4572.
The performers in Stringfest2 include:
First Prize winners of the 7th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in 2011, top prizewinners and Listeners’ Choice Award recipients in the 2011 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and winners of the Alice Coleman Grand Prize at the 60th annual Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition in 2006, the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet has become one of America’s premier young performing ensembles. The Attacca Quartet is now in its eleventh season, having been formed at the Juilliard School in 2003. It is comprised of violinists Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga, violist Luke Fleming and cellist Andrew Yee. They made their professional debut in 2007 as part of the Artists International Winners Series in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and have appeared there on numerous occasions since. The Attacca Quartet recently recorded the complete string quartet works of John Adams for Azica Records, which was released to great acclaim in March 2013. 2013-2014 marked the fourth season of “The 68,” an ambitious project in which the Attacca Quartet will perform all sixty-eight Haydn string quartets on a special series they created in New York. They have been honored with the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award, the Arthur Foote Award from the Harvard Musical Association, and the Lotos Prize in the Arts.
Hailed for its “gripping intensity” and “suspenseful and virtuoso playing” (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Amphion String Quartet is a winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and joined the roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program in fall 2013. Through LCCMS, the ensemble made its Alice Tully Hall debut in March 2014, about which the New York Times praised “the focused, forceful young Amphion String Quartet” for its “sharply detailed performances.”
This season includes their Mostly Mozart debut with two recitals at Avery Fisher Hall and a return to Korea for the Busan Chamber Music Festival. The quartet has several return engagements in New York, including two LCCMS performances at Alice Tully Hall, Schneider Concerts at the New School, Brooklyn’s Bargemusic and the Tilles Center Chamber Music Series on Long Island. Collaborative performances include a recital with clarinetist David Shifrin at Rockford’s Coronado Theatre and a special program with the renowned dance company BodyVox in Portland, Oregon. This fall, the ASQ’s first CD will be released by the UK-based label Nimbus, including quartets by Grieg, Janacek and Wolf.
Internationally, the Amphion Quartet has performed in South Korea at the Music Isle Festival in Jeju and at the Seoul Arts Center. Previous U.S. festival appearances include The Chautauqua Institution, OK Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest, New Jersey’s Mostly Music Series, NYU String Quartet Workshop, Princeton Summer Concerts, Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival, and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. The ASQ has collaborated with such eminent artists as the Tokyo String Quartet, Ani Kavafian, David Shifrin, Carter Brey, Edgar Meyer, Michala Petri, James Dunham, and Deborah Hoffmann.
Recent featured concerts include the Amphion Quartet’s Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall on the CAG series with guest David Shifrin, and also Zankel Hall; the Library of Congress and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; Caramoor Center for the Arts; Pepperdine University; TCAN Center for the Arts (Mass.); New York’s Met Museum and National Arts Club;, and a tour of Northern California. The ASQ has been showcased on New York’s WQXR radio frequently, including the station’s November 2012 Beethoven String Quartet Marathon.
Erin Keefe, violin
Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, violinist Erin Keefe was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2006. She was also the Grand Prize winner in the Valsesia Musica, Torun, Schadt and Corpus Christi international violin competitions, and was the Silver Medalist in the Carl Nielsen, Sendai, and Gyeongnam competitions.
Ms. Keefe has appeared in recent seasons as soloist with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Korean Symphony Orchestra, the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, the Sendai Philharmonic and the Gottingen Symphony and has given recitals throughout the United States, Austria, Italy, Germany, Korea, Poland, Japan and Denmark. She has collaborated with artists such as the Emerson String Quartet, Roberto and Andrés Díaz, Edgar Meyer, Gary Hoffman, Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler, and Leon Fleisher, and she has recorded for Naxos, Onyx, the CMS Studio Recordings label, and Deutsche Grammophon. She has made festival appearances with Music@Menlo, the Marlboro Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Ravinia, and the Seattle, OK Mozart, Mimir, Bravo! Vail Valley, Music in the Vineyards and Bridgehampton chamber music festivals. Ms. Keefe performs regularly with the Brooklyn and Boston Chamber Music Societies and is an Artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.