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Cedar Valley Chamber Music Imagines A World Without

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Cedar Valley Chamber Music
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Julia Bullard with her viola.

The 2021 season for Cedar Valley Chamber Music opens Saturday, July 24. Artistic Director Hunter Capoccioni says the group is using the last year of cancelled performances to inspire a theme: imaging a world without.

“This season’s return to the concert stage takes the idea of being ‘without’ and turns it on its head,” Capoccioni said. “For instrumental music, and classical music in particular, it is often the very idea of what music lacks that makes it so persuasive. Music can express ‘without’ words, can transport you to places ‘without’ leaving your chair, and can describe ‘without’ pictures. That is what these three concerts are about, a focus on how music can express so many ideas ‘without’ anything more than itself.”

Arianna String Quartet

Capoccioni’s “Without Music” theme showcases the Arianna String Quartet, performing quartets of Mendelssohn, Janáčcek, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and the String Sextet of Tchaikovsky. The Arianna String Quartet formed in 1992, and since 2009, have been in residence and on the faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. They will present the first two CVCM series concerts. Members of the quartet include Julia Sakharova and John McGrosso on violins, Kurt Baldwin on cello, and Joanna Mendoza on viola.

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The Arianna String Quartet from left to right: Julia Sakharova and John McGross, violins; Kurt Baldwin, cello; Joanna Mendoza, viola.

The first concert, “Speaking ‘Without’ Words,” contains Janáčcek’s “manifesto on love,” also known as his “String Quartet No. 2” ‘Intimate Letters.’ Commissioned in 1923 by the Bohemian Quartet, Janáčcek drew on experiences from his long-time platonic relationship with Kamila Stösslová. This concert also includes Mendelssohn’s “String Quartet Op. 44, No. 3” and Tchaikovsky’s Third String Quartet.

The second performance, “Travel ‘Without’ Borders” presents Gabriela Lena Frank’s 2001 “Leyendas”, “An Andean Walkabout.” Frank incorporates a mix of Western Classical with Andean Folk to musically emphasize that different cultures can and should co-exist. The first string quartet that Beethoven composed but was actually labeled “String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 3,” and Tchaikovsky’s “String Sextet: Souvenir de Florence” will also be performed on the CVCM’s middle program. Violist Julia Bullard and cellist Hannah Holman will play on the sextet as well.

Piano Trio

The third program, “Nature ‘Without’ Form” features a trio of three different musicians. Violinist Erik Rohde, cellist Hannah Holman, and pianist Peter Miyamoto will take the stage to present Turina’s “Circulo”, Vasks’s “Plainscapes,” and Beamish’s piano trio setting of Debussy’s “La Mer.”

All three performances will be presented at the Gallagher Bluedorn Great Hall in Cedar Falls and will stream online. To watch digitally, visit A440.live. For more details, see cedarvalleymusic.org.