The Chiarina Chamber Players provide a space where world-class musicians and community are intertwined. The group launched their fifth season on Sunday, Sept. 22 with a technically spectacular and engaging performance titled A Hebrew Overture. Neighbors and friends from around Capitol Hill and the greater Washington DC area gathered in the elegant Saint Mark’s Church (301 A St. SE.), to dive into a world of imagination, community, and creativity.
The concert consisted of a collection of three pieces by 20th century Russian composers inspired by Jewish music. Visiting artist and clarinetist Charles Neidich introduced the first piece, ‘Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op 34,’ by Sergei Prokofiev, with a story about the origin of the music.
As he told it, clarinetist Simeon Bellison commissioned his friend Prokofiev in 1919 to compose a piece for his chamber group, the Zimro Ensemble, based on a collection of Jewish folk songs. Prokofiev composed the piece in a couple days, but because he had only seen the folk songs on paper, the tempo markings were entirely different than the original tunes.
Neidich’s story gave the audience a window into the creative process and demonstrated a key aspect of the Chiarina Chamber Player’s mission: to connect audience members to both the performers and the music.
‘Overture on Hebrew Themes’ was a sextet, performed by Artistic Directors Carrie Bean Stute on cello and Efi Hackmey on piano, as well as four visiting artists: violinists Domenic Salerni and Alexandra Osborne, violist Philip Kramp and clarinetist Charles Neidich. The program was rounded out by Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor and Osvaldo Golijov’s Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind.
As they have in the past, Chiarina selected their visiting artists from many esteemed orchestras and venues. Charles Neidich is a renowned soloist and is on faculty at Julliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Alexandra Osborne is a member of the National Symphony Orchestra and Domenic Salerni is the first violinist of the Dalí Quartet as well as faculty at West Chester University, the Arts and Community Network (ArCoNet), and the Dalí Quartet International Music Festival. Philip Kramp works at the Library of Congress, Efi Hackmey is a soloist and chamber musician; and Carrie Bean Stute is in “The President’s Own” Marine Chamber Orchestra.
Founded in 2015 by Carrie Bean Stute and Efi Hackmey, this is Chiarina’s fourth season at Saint Mark’s Church.
Even in the naming of their chamber group, Chiarina finds the personal in the music. Their name stems from the eleventh piece of Robert Schumann’s Op. 9, for piano, titled with his wife’s nickname, Chiarina.
Their upcoming 2019-2020 season is comprised of seven concerts with twelve visiting artists. Fittingly, Chiarina concerts conclude with a mingling of performers and audiences, contemplating the concert and chatting among friends.
At their next concert on Sunday, October 20th, Chiarina will be joined by baritone Randall Scarlota and flautist Aaron Goldman for A Poet’s Love. Get tickets for this performance and learn more about Chiarina Chamber Players by visiting https://chiarina.org.