Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra musicians appreciate their “day job” but for many, what makes music-making meaningful in a more personal way is playing in small groups. It’s fun for the audience, too, because you get to hear how extraordinary these players are individually. Although, until someone comes up with a master calendar system, there will be nights where concerts by these small groups collide. This Wednesday, November 6 is such a night, but there is a fix (see below). That’s good because both will feature some of Buffalo’s world-class musicians playing seldom heard music of the early 20th century as well as music by 21st-century world-famous American women composers such as Caroline Shaw, Caroline Mallonée, and Mary Kouyoumdjian. You’ll want to hear both concerts and you can.
The two performing groups of BPO musicians performing in different venues at the same time are the all-woman Artemis Quartet who will play in both Rockwell Hall on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. and then the same program at “The Friends of Vienna” concert, 1243 Delaware Avenue on Sunday, November 10, at 3:30. That’s “the fix” to this musical traffic jam. More on that below.
There is only one opportunity this week, however, to hear The Buffalo Chamber Players led by their Artistic Director, BPO violist Janz Castelo. The BCP ‘s “one night only” (this week) will be in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall at 7:30 p.m. in a program called “Émigrés,” exploring the immigrant and refugee experience.
Says BCP Artistic Director, BPO violist Janz Castelo: “The musicians and I are very excited to share this program with our audience. Many of the 20th century’s greatest composers, including Bartok, Rachmaninoff, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and countless Hollywood composers, emigrated to the United States and had a monumental impact on classical music here and throughout the world. Our program explores some of these composers and celebrates their contributions.”
In addition to music by Austrian Arnold Schoenberg, Russian Igor Stravinsky, and Poland’s Alexandre Tansman (who, like Chopin, emigrated to France), the BCP concert features works by Buffalo’s own Roland E. Martin and NYC based composer Mary Kouyoumdjian with both composers in attendance. Kouyoumdgian speaks about the Armenian heritage she felt confined by as a teenager but later embraced as an adult and how that’s influenced her music here.
At the same time “Émigrés,” at 7:30 p.m., on the third floor of Buff State’s Rockwell Hall, in the Ciminelli Recital Hall, four women of the BPO who comprise The Artemis Quartet will present “Nineteen”, a musical tribute to the 19th Amendment (passed in 1920) and 100 years of voting women. Selections by George Gershwin and Howard Hanson reflect the musical culture of the 1920s along with two movements of a quartet by American composer Ruth Seeger, about whom Glidden has posted: “The more I learn about this woman’s life and this work in particular, the more fascinated I become. I’m excited to share two movements of her quartet on our upcoming program!” Glidden provides a link (with an embedded musical example) to a NYTimes piece on this American original Ruth Crawford was the first woman composer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in Europe. Another prize-winning woman composer on the program, Caroline Shaw, at age 30, was the youngest person ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. She explains her approach to music (with a clever stove top cooking versus baking analogy) here.
The other contemporary woman composer is Buffalo based Caroline Mallonée. Like composer Shaw, Mallonée is also a singer, and the two of them are very experimental in ways that delight the audience.
So, what to do? Well, it turns out that the Artemis Quartet will perform the same concert just four days down the road, on Sunday afternoon, November 10, at 3:30 p.m. at the “Friends of Vienna” concert held in the Unity Church, 1243 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. Tickets for all three concerts are available at the door. Adult prices are $10 at Ciminelli Recital Hall, $25 at Kleinhans, and $14 at the Unity Church.
Lead image: Artemis Quartet – source Friends of Vienna