Monday, January 18, 2010

Wallach's "Runes and Rituals" to be performed by James Piano Quartet on Feb 4 at Sweet Briar College

“Runes and Ritual,” a brand-new quartet for piano, violin, viola and cello by Joelle Wallach, celebrating the magical and mystical elements of the Blue Ridge region of Virginia, commissioned by the James Piano Quartet will be premiered by the James Piano Quartet February 4, 2010 at Sweet Briar College.

When VCCA composer Joelle Wallach was invited to speak to an interdisciplinary arts class at Sweet Briar College taught by Sweet Briar Professor Nick Ross, Ross was struck by her music. He commissioned Wallach to write a quartet especially for the James Piano Quartet in which Ross was the pianist and which was then Ensemble-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College.


Under the auspices of SBC-VCCA fellowships, and with the enthusiastic support of Dean and VCCA composer Dr. Jonathan Green, Ross and Wallach collaborated through a remarkable series of three VCCA residencies in April 2008, September 2008 and January 2010. Wallach gave three talks to Sweet Briar students on each of her visits which were timed to coincide with the James Piano Quartet’s Sweet Briar rehearsal schedule. Observing the Quartet’s musical and collaborative styles,Wallach has composed “Runes and Ritual,” a quartet for piano, violin, viola and cello, celebrating the magical and mystical elements of the Blue Ridge region of Virginia, and specifically tailored to the group and its individual players.


By April 2008, “Runes and Ritual,” was ready for the James Piano Quartet; and at the end of this month, Wallach will return to the VCCA to work with the James Piano Quartet on the finished score, preparing it for its premiere at Sweet Briar College’s Memorial Chapel on February 4, 2010 at 7:30 PM. There will be a reception immediately following.

The program of the concert will also include two song cycles "A Dream of Now", and "Daughters of Silence", as well as the songs "Alleycat Love Song" and "A Firefighter's prayer", The performers are: Sinan Vural, baritone, Melisa Barrick, soprano, Anna Billias, piano, Ed Mikenas, double bass, and the James Piano Quartet: Jana Ross, violin, Joe Nigro, viola, Wesley Baldwin, cello, Nick Ross, piano. The program will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Chapel at Sweet Briar College.

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