Spring is in the air, and over the next couple of weeks, music will be in the air in West Tisbury, and not just the nightly singing of the pinkletinks. The West Tisbury library will host two free concerts featuring classical musicians imported from off-Island.
On Saturday, March 24, at 4 pm, a trio from the Boston-based organization Music Street will present a concert titled “An Uncommon Blending: Innovation at all Levels.” On Thursday, March 29, at 5 pm, the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society (MVCMS) and the West Tisbury library will present a concert with musicians from the Quartet San Francisco.
Members of Music Street have performed on the Vineyard since the organization was founded in 2013. Twice a year — once in the fall and once in the spring — the West Tisbury library hosts the professional musicians. An annual June concert, “Remembering the Rosenthals,” is presented each year by Sarah Rosenthal and Julie Prazich in honor of Ms. Rosenthal’s musician parents.
The musicians, as well as the program, change with each concert, with founder, director, and pianist Diane Katzenberg Braun being joined by a varying group of graduates of the New England Conservatory of Music. (Ms. Braun herself is an alum, and serves as an instrumental staff accompanist for the famed music institute.)
The lineup for the upcoming show will include violinist Danny Koo, a much-sought-after chamber musician who has performed in venues all over the world, and classical world guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan, an international touring and recording artist.
The inclusion of classical guitar is somewhat unique for a chamber music performance. “I’m always looking for innovation,” says Ms. Braun. “It’s a very interesting program.”
The opener for the concert justifies that description. “Bach to Bach” will feature Ms. Braun playing a series of Bach preludes, followed by Indian variations of the same pieces played on the guitar by Mr. Larget-Caplan.
The rest of the internationally varied program will include work by Vivaldi, Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla, Italian guitar composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Arvo Pärt, an Estonian composer of classical and religious music. Of the piece by the latter composer, which will be performed on piano and violin, Ms. Braun says, “It will provide a mystical moment in the program.”
Music Street was originally founded as an initiative to bring chamber music to homeless shelters. As well as performing at various shelters around Boston and elsewhere, and arranging for piano donations for a number of nonprofit facilities, the Music Street musicians also teach master classes through schools and other institutions, and offer salon concerts to private individuals or organizations.
On Thursday, March 29, the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society will bring two members of the Quartet San Francisco to the library for another varied program of music, ranging from classical to modern jazz. The concert is titled “Handler, Gliere and Cohen: Four Centuries of Violin and Cello Duets.” Master cellist Andres Vera has visited the Island on two other occasions to serve as an artist in residence, teaching string students in all the Island schools as part of the MVCMS’s education program.
Vera is one of a small number of professional cellists who have mastered the challenge of playing from a standing position. He is an active chamber musician and educator in San Francisco, and he also sings and plays ukulele.
He will be joined by violinist and teacher Joseph Christianson, an alum of Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Vera and Christianson will engage Island students through a seven-day schedule of activities, ranging from group instruction with MVRHS students and one-on-one lessons with individuals to the public concert at the West Tisbury library. The musicians will also play at the West Tisbury Congregational Church on April 1 for Easter services.
The program promises to be lively and eclectic. MVCMS artistic director Delores Stevens describers the Quartet San Francisco as “very adventurous musicians.”