SANTA FE — During Week 2 of its 2017 Season, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival — which runs through Aug. 21 and celebrates its 45th anniversary this summer — continues to present a standout lineup of classic and contemporary works as well as a number of Festival premieres.
Between Sunday, July 23, and Saturday, July 29, the Festival features the debut of the acclaimed Variation String Trio, the world premiere of a new work by Festival Artistic Director Marc Neikrug, and a performance of Morton Feldman’s groundbreaking String Quartet No. 2.
Week 2 also includes a solo recital by renowned pianist Juho Pohjonen and the first-ever chamber music performance at the Festival by superstar violinist Rachel Barton Pine (who makes her Festival debut in a solo recital during Week 1).
All Week 2 performances will be held at either St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe or Simms Auditorium at the Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque.
FEATURED GUEST ARTISTS
The Variation String Trio makes its Festival debut at noon on Tuesday, July 25, at St. Francis Auditorium performing Schubert’s String Trio Movement in B-flat Major and American composer James Matheson’s Quartet for Oboe and Strings with oboist Robert Ingliss. In a program note, Matheson wrote that this Quartet, written in 2008, “begins with the instruments in unison, with different instruments gradually splintering off.” The rest of the piece, he added, “explores a variety of ideas, textures, and expressive modes that highlight the uniqueness of this strange but also strangely beautiful combination.”
The Variation String Trio also gives the world premiere of Marc Neikrug’s String Trio at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, at St Francis Auditorium and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, at Simms Auditorium at the Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque. Neikrug wrote this Trio in 2016–2017 on commission from Maine’s Salt Bay Chamberfest and Vermont’s Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival.
Founded in 2005, the Variation String Trio features three musicians with active and acclaimed solo careers: violinist Jennifer Koh, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and cellist Wilhelmina Smith. The Trio gave its first performances at the Salt Bay Chamberfest, and over the past decade it’s appeared at festivals around the country and performed in countries such as Germany and Switzerland.
On Saturday, July 29, at 5 p.m. at St. Francis Auditorium, pianist Juho Pohjonen gives a solo recital featuring works by two French baroque composers: the Vingt-septième ordre from Pièces de clavecin by Couperin and Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin by Rameau.
One of Finland’s most renowned pianists, Pohjonen has given recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York City, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C., and Wigmore Hall in London, among many other venues. He’s also appeared as a soloist with numerous ensembles, including the Atlanta, Bournemouth, Danish National, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; the Buffalo, Helsinki, and Los Angeles philharmonics; the Philharmonia Orchestra; and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Pohjonen has been praised for his “elegant musicianship” and his “pearly touch, singing tone and sensitivity” by The New York Times, while The Atlanta Journal Constitution raved that “his playing is simply extraordinary,” and The Washington Post said he has “both impeccable technique and a clear-eyed approach to music.”
Superstar violinist Rachel Barton Pine, who makes her Festival debut in an all-Bach solo recital during Week 1, appears in her first-ever chamber music performance at the Festival at 6 p.m. at St. Francis Auditorium on Sunday, July 23, and Monday, July 24. Pine performs Alexander Glazunov’s String Quintet in A Major with violinist Jennifer Frautschi, violist Paul Neubauer, and cellists Mark Kosower and Clive Greensmith.
During Week 2, the Festival also presents the second of its four fun, free, and family-friendly Youth Concerts, which feature Festival artists engaging in musical storytelling and performing excerpts of repertoire drawn directly from the Festival’s regular programming. The second Youth Concert is at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 24, at St. Francis Auditorium and features violinist Jennifer Frautschi, cellist Mark Kosower, and pianist Jon Kimura Parker.
A FESTIVAL FIRST
On Friday, July 28, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., the FLUX Quartet gives the Festival’s debut performance of Morton Feldman’s six-hour-long String Quartet No. 2, which the ensemble premiered at The Cooper Union in New York City in 1999 and recorded in 2001. Following that 1999 premiere, The New Yorker described the Quartet’s performance as “a disorienting, transfixing experience that repeatedly approached and touched the sublime” and noted that the musicians “never faltered in their execution of the score” and completed “a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records.”
Since its founding in 1998, the FLUX Quartet has premiered more than 100 works. The San Francisco Chronicle called the Quartet “one of the most fearless and important new-music ensembles around,” and The Village Voice praised it for bringing “a new renaissance to quartet music.”
The Festival’s free presentation of Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2 will be at St. Francis Auditorium. There will be no breaks during the performance, but audience members are welcome to come and go as they please.
Festival tickets are available in a variety of options and may be purchased with any major credit card by calling 505.982.1890 (or toll free at 888.221.9836, ext. 102); faxing orders to 505.986.0251 (credit card orders only); visiting SantaFeChamberMusic.com, where seat selection is available; emailing email@example.com; or stopping by the Festival Ticket Office in the lobby of the New Mexico Museum of Art, West Palace & Lincoln Avenues in Santa Fe. The Ticket Office is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets are nonrefundable; however, if you’re unable to use your tickets, you can donate them to the Festival prior to the performance in person, via phone (see above for numbers), or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket exchanges are subject to fees and restrictions.