Last month I had the pleasure of playing on two veteran bay area chamber music series, the Gold Coast Chamber Players (http://www.gcplayers.org/) and EOS Ensemble (http://www.eosensemble.com/). I cannot imagine a better way to start off 2012.
Pam Freund-Striplen, violist and director of Gold Coast (GCCP), has done an amazing job cultivating a community in support of chamber music. We performed an all Mozart concert (I performed the Mozart Clarinet Quintet along with Corina Storian, Eric Gaenslen, & Tony Striplen). My only experience with the work was reading through it for fun with David Kaun (Mim co-founder, donor, friend, clarinetist) and friends. [Side note: Chamber music "reading parties" are one of the greatest rewards of being a musician. Musicians gather at a home with instruments and a stack of music; in between food, drink and chatter, we play through several chamber works.] Working with GCCP allowed me to finally get to know the Mozart Quintet more intimately. I tried to absorb and notice the many details beyond performance that Pam so meticulously attends to but most of all I was inspired by her and hope that Mim will follow a similar path!
In the same weekend I got to know the string quartets of Debussy & Ravel very quickly and intensely. Craig Reiss (violinist and founding member of EOS Ensemble), Vicky Ehrlich, and Caroline Lee were so fun to play with and I appreciated their encouragement (being the only one not to have performed both of these works, the task was slightly daunting!). We also performed Debussy Sacred and Profane Dances with principal harpist of SF Opera, Olga Rakitchenkov. The setting of our concert could not have been more perfect – at the Legion of Honor in conjunction with the Pissarro exhibit. Performing near the entrance created a surprise for most entering the museum; every chair was taken and people were sitting and standing along the walls. Our “stage” shared a few hallways to neighboring galleries and people would pause as they passed to listen while viewing beautiful artwork.
Two chamber music series that are successfully bringing the gift of music to the masses!