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Decoda Chamber Music Ensemble

Our 81st Season opens with Decoda

Good grief! It’s autumn!

End of summer sales? Back to school specials? Halloween/Thanksgiving ads? I want to know exactly what happened to the summer of 2023! It’s just like being in the third grade again and seeing everything go downhill from the Fourth of July: the resurrection of the dreaded navy blue uniform and book bag, the thought of sitting at a desk for what seemed like 12 hours, soggy sandwiches and days that ended at dinnertime and required the completion of (I hate even to write the word) homework. But since I no longer have to confront Sister Mary Scary every weekday morning, I can just actually enjoy the prospect of autumn. I don’t need the back to school sales and the scent of pumpkin spice – just the start of a glorious season of music.

Yes, friends, when you awaken on the morning of October 8th, erase from your sleep-fogged brain the thoughts of things you would sooner forget, and zero in on the pure delight of classical chamber music. And it all begins with a new idea in chamber music: a musical collective. Do I have your attention? I’ve never encountered a “musical collective.” What are we talking about here? What do they do that makes them a “collective,” please? I mean, you’ve got your strings, your reeds, your horns – wha????

Back to the beginning. There are 30 musicians who are all young, innovative and, most importantly, enthused about chamber music.

Imagine that! Decoda was founded in 2012 by musicians who first collaborated as members of Ensemble Connect, a two-year fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Its work as an ensemble has grown out of this collective training, which focused on developing skills as exemplary performers, dedicated teachers, and passionate advocates for music in communities around the world.

Furthermore, this is a group of incredibly talented musicians. Just ask the NY Times, the Washington Post, Playbill, the New Yorker – I could go on, citing press raves in London, Johannesburg, Germany – but you get the picture. As you well know, chamber music is a uniquely collaborative enterprise, but, this is a new concept and, I think, and well worth the price of admission. Let me explain:

Think about what a pleasant surprise it is to hear familiar music performed with fresh enthusiasm; or to hear music you’ve never experienced but makes you want to replay it. That’s the specialty of Decoda. Five members of the collective will take the Trinity Baptist stage October 8th: Clara Lyon, violin; Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello; Catherine Gregory, flute; Brad Balliett, bassoon; and David Kaplan, piano. And you will enjoy the reimagined compositions by Stravinsky and Rameau, the “Dumky” Piano Trio by Dvorak, and the work of a young award-winning composer (known to us as the founder of Imani Winds), Valerie Coleman, Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman of the Year.

So there you have it, everything you’ll need to put the memory of Sister Mary Scary and navy blue uniforms out of your poor mind. Come to hear this unique ensemble and some music you know and love, and some new music to broaden your horizons. We’ll start at 3:15, so leave your cares at the door, relax and enjoy.

– E Doyle