Ensemble ACJW is returning to campus. Look for these talented musicians performing in the library and the residence halls, or in the community. Tickets are available now for the group’s Feb. 15 concert in Zankel Music Center.
Carnegie Hall Premieres: A Concert by Ensemble ACJW returns to Skidmore at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. A pre-performance talk with the musicians will begin at 7 p.m., the concert at 8. Skidmore’s Department of Music and Office of the Dean of Special Programs are sponsors of the concert.
Musicians of Ensemble ACJW are fellows of The Academy, a two-year program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. The program supports young music professionals in developing their careers as top-quality performers and as innovative programmers through advanced musical training, intensive teaching instruction, and the skills necessary for careers combining musical excellence with education, community engagement, advocacy and leadership.
Ensemble ACJW will be in its 11th residency at Skidmore this month, culminating in a concert featuring the world premiere of a new composition called Set That On Fire by composer Missy Mazzoli. The program also features works by Francis Poulenc and Johannes Brahms.
The score for Set That On Fire includes an alto flute, oboe, bassoon, horn, percussionist, timpanist, two clarinets and strings. Mazzoli, who will collaborate with Ensemble ACJW while the group is in residence at Skidmore, is a New York City-based composer who has drawn upon the guerrilla attitude of graffiti art as inspiration. For her, the act of destroying a well-formed musical structure unleashes a hidden spark that can “come out of nowhere” and change the whole work.
Following Set That On Fire, Ensemble ACJW will perform Francis Poulenc’s “Sextet for Piano and Winds.” Poulenc liberally embraced the music that surrounded him, from his French contemporaries to popular street songs. Music critic Claude Rostand famously described Poulenc’s work as “part monk, part rascal.” In the “Sextet for Piano and Winds,” originality speaks for itself in the energetic, yet nostalgic, three-movement composition.
The final selection on the program is a composition by Johannes Brahms—no stranger to artistic toil throughout his career—who conceived the opening theme of the first movement while on a leisurely stroll in the woods. Yet it was only in the midst of grief and crisis that he was able to use the subject of his mother’s death in his dramatic, elegiac “Trio in E-flat Major for Violin, Horn, and Piano.”
Fellows participating in this residency include Catherine Gregory, flute; Stuart Breczinski, oboe; Gabriel Campos Zamora, clarinet; Nanci Belmont, bassoon; Laura Weiner, horn; Thomas Bergeron, trumpet; Tyler Wottrich and Alexandria Le, piano; Michelle Ross, violin; and guest composer Mazzoli.
The residency is made possible by generous support from the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.
Academy fellows work in partnership with New York City public-school music teachers in a variety of grade levels in areas such as interactive performance, instrumental teaching, creative learning project, and general music knowledge, depending on the specific needs of each school. The partnership with Skidmore, which began in 2007, brings performances and educational events to the Saratoga Springs community. This year’s residency includes informal performances in Scribner Library and the campus residence halls, interaction with Skidmore Orchestra rehearsing side-by-side with students, speaking in Skidmore classes ranging from “Philanthropy and the Arts” to “Women in American Culture,” interactive performances with the fourth and fifth grades at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School, as well as solo lessons and coaching sessions with music students.
Admission for the Feb. 15 Ensemble ACJW performance is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and Skidmore faculty, staff, retirees and alumni. Students of all ages and children are free. For advance reservation, visit www.skidmore.edu/zankel or call the Zankel box office (518) 580-5321 for more information. The Zankel Music Center is wheelchair-accessible and offers listening devices for the hearing-impaired.