Kas­sia Mu­sic con­cert prom­ises mod­ern works

Kent County News - - SOCIAL SCENE -

CH­ESTER­TOWN — Easy lis­ten­ing and clas­si­cal aren’t words al­ways found to­gether. But mu­sic that’s easy on the ears is the goal of Kas­sia Mu­sic, an en­sem­ble that will per­form in the Na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val’s Res­o­nance se­ries.

The con­cert be­gins at 3 p.m. Sun­day, Jan. 13, at St. Paul’s Church, Kent, lo­cated at 7579 Sandy Bot­tom Road out­side Ch­ester­town.

“The idea is to play mu­sic that ev­ery­one can grasp and en­joy from the start. But we’ll put in a few bits of sub­tlety or com­plex­ity for the con­nois­seur,” said Sam Post, pi­anist and a founder, in a news re­lease.

Kas­sia Mu­sic can be sure to add those bits be­cause much of their pro­gram will be their orig­i­nal and re­cent com­po­si­tions, the re­lease states.

“For many peo­ple, mod­ern clas­si­cal means re­ally dif­fi­cult stuff — ex­per­i­men­tal, dis­so­nant and atonal,” Post said. Not so with Kas­sia Mu­sic, six in­stru­men­tal­ists based in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. area.

Some of Post’s works, and those of co-leader Bernard Val­land­ing­ham, in­clude pi­ano rag­time and sim­ple, folk-like melodies.

“Lis­ten­ers have said our slower sec­tions re­mind them of tra­di­tional English tunes like Scar­bor­ough Fair,” Post said. There also is a clear pref­er­ence for happy rhythms in the group’s faster choices.

The con­cert will take place near a warm­ing fire­place, and com­pli­men­tary light re­fresh­ments will be served at in­ter­mis­sion.

Jan­u­ary’s per­for­mance will lead off with a work by Prokofiev that’s rec­og­niz­able to many, “Over­ture on He­brew Themes,” and the com­poser’s “String Quar­tet No. 2.” Bri­tish critic Alan Coady has called the over­ture “the pin­na­cle of Klezmer mu­sic high­lighted by a charm­ing bit­ter­sweet theme.”

Next comes Post’s “Clar­inet Quin­tet on He­brew-ish Themes.” That doesn’t mean five clar­inets but in­di­cates that clar­inetist Lau­ren Geist plays a ma­jor role in this num­ber along with the strings of El­iz­a­beth Adams, a Na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val vi­o­lin men­tor; Suzanna Mend­low, cello; Ad­ina Val­land­ing­ham, vi­o­lin; Bernard Val­land­ing­ham, vi­ola; and Post on pi­ano.

The fi­nal works are by Bernard Val­land­ing­ham: “Suite for Vi­o­lin, Vi­ola, Clar­inet & Pi­ano” with a taran­tella as its third move­ment, fol­lowed by his “Sex­tet for Clar­inet, Strings and Pi­ano.”

Mem­bers of the group have played na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing at the Kennedy Cen­ter and Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton, in Chicago, the Cape Cod Rag­time Fes­ti­val and at a Bach-themed event in New York City.

A Post com­po­si­tion per­formed last sum­mer at the NMF was re­cently adapted for and per­formed by the San Fran­cisco Sym­phony. Though or­ga­nized less than three years ago, Kas­sia Mu­sic will soon re­lease its first CD.

Tick­ets are $20 for adults and $5 for stu­dents with ID and chil­dren un­der 14. NMF 2019 Com­bi­na­tion Pass hold­ers are guar­an­teed ad­mis­sion to all of this sea­son’s Res­o­nance per­for­mances — and all tick­eted events of the 2019 Na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, June 2 to 15, which will in­clude more than 35 con­certs rang­ing from small ensem­bles to sym­phony orches­tra with cho­rus, plus 200 free open re­hearsals.

Fol­low­ing the Jan. 13 per­for- mance, the Res­o­nance se­ries, for­merly known as Kent Cham­ber Mu­sic, will con­tinue with the fol­low­ing three Sun­day con­certs, all at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s:

Feb. 17 — Miles Hoff­man, vi­ola, Amer­i­can Cham­ber Play­ers, mu­sic com­men­ta­tor for NPR’s Morn­ing Edi­tion

March 24 — Karen Slack, so­prano, in­ter­na­tional opera singer

April 28 – Gwen Kros­nick, cello, NMF men­tor

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and Res­o­nance, visit na­tional­mu­sic.us.


Though or­ga­nized less than three years ago, Kas­sia Mu­sic aims to bring clas­si­cal mu­sic to a mod­ern world with orig­i­nal mu­sic and cov­ers. The group will per­form as part of the Res­o­nance con­cert se­ries at 3 p.m. Sun­day, Jan. 13 at St. Paul’s, Kent out­side Ch­ester­town.

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