February is filled with music

The Connecticut College Department of Music brings two world-class ensembles to campus for performances this month.

The Bohemian Quartet will perform on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Fortune Recital Hall of Cummings Arts Center. This acclaimed quartet, based in Providence, R.I., specializes in the music of the Romani or ‘Gypsy’ tradition, along with related Eastern European folk styles. Cellist Christine Harrington, violist Nancy Richardson, violinist Stan Renard and bassist David Zinno earned three Grammy nominations for their recording “Beyond Tradition.” They will lead a master class with Connecticut College students at 4:30 p.m., also in Fortune Recital Hall, and some of the students will join the quartet for the evening concert. Both the master class and concert are free and open to the public.

“Our students primarily receive training in the classical and jazz idioms, so I'm really excited to be able to offer something different with the Bohemian Quartet, in their focus on the ‘Gypsy’ tradition,” said Midge Thomas, associate professor of music and chair of the music department. “Student string players and wind players will get to work with the quartet in the afternoon, learning pieces and techniques of that style, and then will join the quartet in a few pieces for the evening concert. It's a great opportunity for both our students and the audience.”

On Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. in Harkness Chapel, the Sebastian Chamber Players — a group specializing in Baroque music — will perform “Orfeo del violin,” a program that explores works by Arcangelo Corelli and his contemporaries. (The concert’s title refers to legendary Greek musician Orpheus, who used music as a rhetorical weapon. Corelli is known to have brought a new level of virtuosity and expression to violin playing in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.) The ensemble comprises Daniel Lee and Alexander Woods on Baroque violins, Ezra Seltzer on Baroque cello and Jeffrey Grossman on harpsichord. They have been praised for their “deft balance of firebrand playing and classical elegance.”

“Often when we think of Baroque music, we think of a ‘sleepy’ Sunday morning radio show,” said Thomas. “But the Sebastians are anything but ‘sleepy.’ They bring authentic instruments and tunings to Baroque music, along with an intensity that is exhilarating and eye-opening. I'd rate this concert as not-to-be-missed.”

Tickets for “Orfeo del violin” are $10 for general admission, $5 seniors and students and free to Connecticut College staff, faculty and students.

February 5, 2013