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This preview has been provided as part of a publicity exchange with the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. For more information about CVNC's publicity exchanges, follow this link.
A direct descendant of Raleigh's beloved summer Lamar Stringfield Music Camp, the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute is a year-long program in which students can participate in chamber music with professional mentorship and the opportunity to develop not only their musical skills, but their leadership. 2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the nonprofit, established largely because the students were not ready to leave the intimate ensembles they had established during a short summer-camp setting! This year's program features over 105 students in 27 ensembles, coached by 25-30 professional teachers and musicians. They have already begun rehearsals, but the first big events are coming up this month, including an open masterclass, pop-up performances, and a faculty concert.
The student ensembles will study a variety of styles of chamber music this year, both on and "off the beaten path" of traditional Classical repertoire, explains Executive Director Elizabeth Beilman, which is why this month's Impact Series concert will feature a commissioned work, Sandcastled King, by NCCMI alumnus Quenton Blache, as well as rarely performed trio sonatas by Friedrich Seitz (selected from Op. 34). These are paired with the more familiar Felix Mendelssohn String Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 44, No. 3, to model for the students a program balancing regular, rare, and new chamber music. The guest ensemble Aurora Musicalis, made up of local musicians including players from the North Carolina Symphony, has been described as "one of the very best" chamber music ensembles in North Carolina.
One goal of the NCCMI is always to make the music accessible, and to "keep chamber and Classical music from being an elite activity." To this end, student ensembles will participate in "Pop-Up Parks" performances beginning next weekend*. Beilman describes these performances as "a serendipitous happening" for park-goers, who should feel welcome to listen as long as they like - with none of the strict rules of the concert hall. The organization offers what Beilman calls a "rigorous but welcoming" program - all at a low cost, thanks in part to partnerships between NCCMI and the NC Symphony, Chamber Music Raleigh, KidzNotes, the Raleigh Music Collective, and the Community Music School. In addition to rehearsals, performances, and coaching by accomplished local musicians, NCCMI students participate in a variety of workshops and masterclasses throughout the season. In addition Tai Murray, the students will also work with Patrick Yim from the Fischoff Chamber Music Academy, and participate in "In the Spotlight" workshops that address the musician as a whole person - addressing performance anxiety, public speaking, and becoming cultural ambassadors for music.
Stay tuned for more details about upcoming events with NCCMI, including audition prep workshops, pop-up performances at local area libraries, and more fine chamber music making.
About Aurora Musicalis:
Aurora Musicalis is a diverse chamber music ensemble composed of members of the North Carolina Symphony and other distinguished artists. Translated roughly, its name means “Musical Lights,” conjuring images of colorful and spirited music-making.
In addition to their status as members of the North Carolina Symphony, Emily Glover and Erin Zehngut*, violins; Amy Mason, viola; and Elizabeth Beilman, cello make up the Aurora Musicalis String Quartet. Clarinetist Jimmy Gilmore (NC Symphony Principal Clarinet, ret.) is a founding member of the ensemble and continues to perform with the ensemble on a regular basis.
Since its debut in 1991, Aurora Musicalis has made numerous appearances to critical acclaim including concert series’ at Duke University, Weymouth Center, Fearrington Village, Meredith College and the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild. The ensemble was listed in the Top Ten Concerts for both the News and Observer and The Spectator. Their first compact disc, Echoes of America: Chamber Music of America, received excellent reviews, including an excellent notice in the international publication, Fanfare. The disc, whose title piece was commissioned by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild and dedicated to Aurora Musicalis by North Carolina’s Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Ward, is available on the Albany label. In addition, Aurora Musicalis has recorded the Carl Fruhling Trio and
The Aurora Musicalis String Quartet has performed and recorded premieres of works by Peter Askim and (in the 23-24 season), Quenton Blache.
Aurora Musicalis musicians are dedicated to all facets of music education and are associated with organizations such as the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute, Triangle Youth Music and Lamar Stringfield Music Camp and each member maintains active teaching studios with highly accomplished students.
About Quenton Blache:
Quenton Xavier Blache is a cellist and composer based in Los Angeles and a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) Thornton School of Music. He has a Bachelor's degree in cello performance and music composition, and a minor in
Chinese. He will attend Thornton Master’s program in screen scoring in Fall 2023. Quenton has performed in Carnegie Hall, South America, Europe, and Asia as a member of Sphinx Virtuosi, a professional string ensemble of Black and Latinx players,
and National Youth Orchestra USA. He soloed the Dvořák Concerto with the Peninsula Symphony in February 2022. In August 2022, he performed in France as a member of the USC Honors Quartet at the Rencontres franco-américaines de Musique de
Chambre Festival in collaboration with musicians from the Paris Conservatory. Serving as a cello hand double and background musician actor in the Blumhouse Productions 2020 Amazon Prime movie, Nocturne, allowed him to merge his love of music and film.
He is the 2021 winner of the the USC Bach Competition, Undergraduate Division, the 2023 winner of the USC Strings Concerto Competition, and will perform Bloch's Schelomo with the Thornton Symphony in October 2023.
As a composer, Quenton has written works for the Little Orchestra Society, North Carolina Chamber Music Institute, Sphinx Virtuosi, MYCO Youth Chamber Orchestra and more. In 2019, his composition for string quartet, Hunted, was performed in a
masterclass with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. He is especially passionate about composition for visual media and has scored numerous short films and documentaries. Quenton was also the composer for the Resilience Project, a climate change “art-ivist” performance series that is a part of the inaugural USC Arts and Climate Collective. In his spare time, he enjoys playing chess and aspires to be an International Master (IM). Quenton has studied composition under Andrew Norman, Veronika Krausas, Ted Hearne, Frank Ticheli, and Nina Young. He has studied cello under Jacob Wenger, co-founder of the North Raleigh School of Music, and Nathaniel Yaffe, recording engineer and cellist of the North Carolina Symphony. He currently studies composition under celebrated composer Donald Crockett and cello under accomplished cellist Andrew Shulman.
NCCMI is an organized serious program for small ensembles, with many performance opportunities. Proven to build leadership and musical skills, it is fun, challenging and engaging with the whole community. Chamber music is hands-down THE best way for young musicians to learn their craft. Composers like Beethoven and Shostakovich created many of their masterpieces for small ensembles of 4 players called string quartets. Fast forward to the jazz era, and we see jazz combos of 4 instruments. Whatever the style, THIS is chamber music.