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Strata Music Ensemble this weekend at Unitarian Universalist Church

| February 24, 2016, 04:51 PM | 0 Comments
Strata Music Ensemble showcases new classical music as well as past repertoire at a February 26, 8PM concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Road. Tickets are $15 at the door. Photo credit: Nguyen Nguyen

Strata Music Ensemble showcases new classical music as well as past repertoire at a February 26, 8PM concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Road. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Photo credit: Nguyen Nguyen

On Friday, February 26 at 8 pm, Strata, the acclaimed trio of clarinet, violin/viola and piano, presents chamber music by German Romantic Max Bruch, Italian Gian Carlo Menotti, and new works by Libby Larsen and Dana Wilson, including a world premiere by Larsen, one of America’s most performed living composers. Strata brings together the considerable talents of Nathan Williams, clarinet, James Stern,violin/viola and pianist Audrey Andrist. This, the first 4th Friday concert of 2016, will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis (UUCA), 333 Dubois Road. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information visit or call 410-266-8044 Monday – Thursday.

The program opens with renowned opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s lyrical and expressive Trio. Max Bruch, composer of one of the world’s most beloved Violin Concertos, wrote his unabashedly romantic Eight Pieces, op. 83 in the twilight years of his life. Five of these exquisite miniatures will close the first half of the concert.

The second half of the program offers poetry-inspired works by two living American composers. Libby Larson’s trio Ferlinghetti is a world premiere, composed especially for Strata and a consortium of additional performers. It is inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind, featuring evocative movement titles such as “crazy to be alive in such a strange world,” and “In Paris in a loud, dark winter”. Concluding the evening, Strata performs Dana Wilson’s thrilling and virtuosic A Thousand Whirling Dreams, based on lines from Langston Hughes’ poem As I Grew Older.

“We are thrilled to be making our Annapolis debut for the 4th Friday series” (Audrey Andrist, pianist with Strata). “Our program combines music that we have performed and recorded many times (Bruch, Menotti), with brand new music that we will be performing for the first time (Larsen,Wilson). Even the most ardent chamber music enthusiasts are likely not very familiar with the repertoire for clarinet, violin/viola and piano that we perform. We always include entertaining commentary and helpful insights in our concerts, often demonstrating small sections of the music to enhance the listening experience for the audience.”

Strata (which refers to layers) is a coming together of three musical talents: Audrey Andrist, piano; Nathan Williams, clarinet; and James Stern, violin and viola. Their combined credits encompass numerous international prizes and performances across four continents, including such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Marlboro Festival and the Kennedy Center. Strata brings “deft ensemble playing” and a “talent that’s worth getting worked up about” (Washington Post) to a repertoire that combines the great trio and duo repertoire of the past with an ever-growing body of new works written especially for them over the more than 25 years they have been playing together. Equally capable of winning over an audience with unique renderings of popular music and of making even the most complex works accessible, exciting and meaningful, Strata has received enthusiastic repeat engagements at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, New York’s historic Maverick Concerts and San Francisco Composers Inc., for which they were listed as one of San Francisco Classical Voice’s “highlights of 2005.” They have been resident artists at the Banff Centre for the Arts and appeared in New York City under the auspices of the International Society for Contemporary Music.

All holders of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Juilliard School, the members of Strata are dedicated to every level of music education, from the mentoring of graduate students and young professionals, to the initial sparking of musical passion in very young children, to the guiding of audiences in what to listen for. The ensemble’s first CD is available on the AUR label as well as on iTunes and Amazon. They are featured on compact discs of the music of Robert Maggio for CRI and Adam Silverman for Albany Records, and have been recorded live in concert for CBC Radio in Canada.

Due to January’s snow this program opens the third concert year of 4th Friday monthly concerts. Concert pianist Brian Ganz was the inspiration of the series, is Artistic Director and periodic performer. All concerts are offered at 8PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis (UUCA). Individual tickets are $15 or purchase a Friday Five Pack at the door for $60. The next concert is March 25 and will feature Mezzo soprano Olivia Vote and concert pianist Brian Ganz. See for future programming.

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