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Rebel Baroque with Matthias Maute

Rebel Baroque with Matthias Maute

Hailed by the New York Times as “Sophisticated and Beguiling” and praised by the Los Angeles Times for their “astonishingly vital music-making,” the award-winning, New York-based ensemble, REBEL (pronounced “Re-BEL”) is one of North America’s top-tier ensembles specializing in 17th- & 18th-century repertoire performed on period instruments. Named after the innovative French Baroque composer Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747), REBEL was formed in The Netherlands in 1991; that same year the ensemble took first prize in the International Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht, succeeded by their sensational début on the world stage at the Holland Festival Oude Muziek and their critically-acclaimed American début in New York City in 1992. Since then the ensemble has garnered an impressive international reputation, enchanting diverse audiences with their unique style and their virtuosic, highly expressive and provocative approach to baroque and classical repertoire. The core formation of two violins, recorder/traverso, cello/viola da gamba and harpsichord/organ/fortepiano expands in a variety of formations with additional strings, winds, brass, theorbo and vocalists, as needed.

REBEL, through its long-term residency from 1997-2009 at historic Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City, achieved high acclaim for its collaborations with Trinity Choir in performance, radio broadcasts, webcasts and recordings with works ranging from the cantatas of Bach to large scale works by Monteverdi, Handel, Bach, Purcell, Mozart and Haydn. An 8-CD set of the complete masses of Haydn was released in 2009 on the Naxos label. The REBEL Baroque Orchestra first gained worldwide recognition for its acclaimed performance of Mozart’s Requiem with Trinity Choir under the direction of Dr. Owen Burdick, broadcast nationally over National Public Radio in September 2001, and for its subsequent annual performances of Handel’s Messiah and the choral works of Haydn, which were broadcast live over WQXR-FM in New York City and internationally over the internet. Currently the RBO enjoys collaborations with various choirs including the Westchester Oratorio Society and the Central City Chorus in New York City.

REBEL has performed at prestigious festivals and venues in Europe, including the Holland Festival Oude Muziek, Tage Alter Musik Berlin, the Konzerthaus (Vienna), La Chapelle Royale (Versailles), Internationale Festtage für Alte Musik Stuttgart, Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, Les Luminères Festival (Helsinki), the Händel Festspiele Halle and the Göttingen- Handel Festival in Germany, amongst others. In the U.S., REBEL has been presented in thirty-eight states at distinguished venues including the Da Camera Society (Los Angeles), the Schubert Club (St. Paul), Friends of Music (Kansas City), Spivey Hall (Atlanta), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, MD), Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), Caramoor (Katonah, NY) Chautauqua Institution, Stanford Lively Arts, University of Chicago Presents, Market Square Concerts (Harrisburg, PA), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), the Cleveland Museum of Art, the early music festivals of Boston and Berkeley and Music Before 1800 in New York City.

REBEL has collaborated with renowned vocalists Max von Egmond, Derek Lee Ragin, Suzie Le Blanc, Daniel Taylor, Marta Almajano, Peter Kooy, Barbara Schlick, Yulia Van Doren and Rufus Müller; in 2005 REBEL gave its Carnegie Hall début with Renée Fleming at Carnegie Hall to high acclaim. The ensemble has recorded for all the major European national radio networks and has been showcased in performance and interview on BBC’s Radio 3. Arguably the most aired American baroque ensemble in the U.S. today, REBEL is regularly featured on the nationally syndicated shows Performance Today and Sunday Baroque, and has appeared several times on Minnesota Public Radio’s St. Paul Sunday. REBEL remains the only period instrument ensemble ever to have been awarded an artists residency at National Public Radio. REBEL has recorded over twenty discs and can be heard on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, ATMA, Hänssler Classic, Dorian, Sono Luminus and Bridge Records.

Since 2013 the ensemble has been in residence at the venerable Downtown Music at Grace series in White Plains, N.Y. and maintains a self-produced concert series in Bedford, NY, now entering its eighteenth season. Their latest CD, ‘Johann Gottlieb Goldberg: Beyond the Variations’ was released on Bridge Records in November 2016.

“Sophisticated and Beguiling” The New York Times

“Fiery, alive and beautifully controlled” The Washington Post

Members:

Jörg-Michael Schwarz (violin)
Karen Marie Marmer (violin)
Matthias Maute (recorder & traverso)
John Moran (cello)
Dongsok Shin (harpsichord)

Program

CHAPEL, COURT & COUNTRY
Treasures of the 17th & 18th-Centuries

VIVALDI
Concerto in  a minor RV 108

CORELLI
Sonata Op.4 No.8 in d minor (1694)

FASCH
Sonata in B-Flat Major

TELEMANN
Sonata in G Major TWV 42: G 11

BLAVET
Concerto à 4 parties  in  a minor

-Intermission-

SCARLATTI
Sonata Nona  in  a minor (1725)

FUX
Partita à 3  in d minor K 326 (1701)

TELEMANN
Quartet/Concerto  in a minor TWV 43: a 3 (ca1730)

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

Pacifica Quartet/Sharon Isbin Outreach Events

Pacifica Quartet Outreach at Alamo Heights High School on October 16, 2017

On the Monday after their performance with Sharon Isbin, the Pacifica String Quartet gave an amazing workshop for about 140 string students at Alamo Heights High School. The program was about string quartet repertoire and how players prepare to perform. The players performed several sections from the Sunday concert. They showed the relationship between the Haydn quartet and works by J.S. Bach and popular dance movements like the minuet. Next, they played a movement of a Russian quartet by Beethoven to demonstrate a fugue, which requires that the players ‘converse’ musically with one another.  During a very interesting question and answer session, the students asked quite insightful questions about the musicians’ instruments and their history.

The quartet continued with some Shostakovich, since they had heard from the orchestra teacher that the advanced students were working on the composer’s 8th string quartet. They concluded with some of the Puccini quartet from the Sunday performance.

Submitted by Paul Giolma and Jan Van den Hende

Sharon Isbin Outreach at KIPP on October 16, 2017

The San Antonio Chamber Music Society had an embarrassment of riches when we had both the Pacifica String Quartet and world-renowned guitarist, Sharon Isbin in town to do Outreach Events for us.  Following their beautiful performance on our Sunday series, both the quartet members and Ms. Isbin shared their talents with some lucky students.  Sharon went to the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) public charter school of San Antonio.  The school was having a teachers’ work day, but students were invited to attend school anyway to hear a guitar concert.   One boy who studies guitar, walked four miles to get to the concert.  He said he didn’t have a ride or money for the bus, but he wasn’t going to miss it.  Sharon sat in the modest classroom amid hundreds of musical instruments lined up neatly in cases to be used for teaching.  The classroom was obviously cared for meticulously by music teacher, Elena Magallanes.  Sharon entertained us all with stories about her White House and Ground Zero performances among many others.  She played Asturias by Albéniz and Recuerdos De La Alhambra by Tárrega, two of the most beloved guitar works while we sat entranced and enthralled to watch and hear her intensely beautiful and moving playing up close.

Near the end of the event, the teacher asked the student, Enrique Villarreal, if he would like to play for Sharon and he responded enthusiastically.  Ms. Magallanes opened one of the guitar cases and handed him an instrument. He played a few scales and had a “private lesson” with the maestra!

Submitted by Allyson Dawkins

The Mystery Program

I know you were shuffling through your program notes at Sunday’s concert.  I saw you.  You had no idea what Pacifica String Quartet – let alone Sharon Isbin – would be performing next, and, like me, you feel insecure when you don’t know who the composer is, how many movements there will be, when it will be time to applaud (or get caught out as the only person in the room who is doing so).  I know.  But I will let you in on a little behind-the-scenes wizardry/witchery that went on about an hour before the doors opened at 3:00.

You know that Pacifica and Sharon Isbin are incredibly talented musicians, right?  They don’t give those Grammys away like marshmallows at a camp out.  So about an hour before the concert began, first violin Simin Ganatra told a few of the board members that Pacifica and Ms. Isbin would like to make some changes in the program.  They would rearrange the sequences and could throw in a few surprises, if that would be ok.  And I’m standing there thinking, “Good grief!  What kind of versatility does it take to change a whole program only an hour before a  performance?!  How can they have practiced and prepared a whole basket of music that they can just draw out at will and perform?!”

... about an hour before the concert began, first violin Simin Ganatra told a few of the board members that Pacifica and Ms. Isbin would like to make some changes in the program. They would rearrange the sequences and could throw in a few surprises...

So that’s how the program got shuffled.  Now you know.  And I’ll bet you know something else, as well.  Pacifica has earned its stellar reputation for precision, lyricism and, yes, pure enjoyment.  Theirs is an almost ethereal  joy in performance, and tell me you didn’t really feel the pathos of the third movement of the Haydn.  The composer himself would have cried.

And then there’s Sharon Isbin.  It’s difficult for me not to repeat what’s been written time and time again about her uncanny ability to elicit thoughts of a Spain that we all imagined:  white marble, the scent of oranges, the swirly of color in dancers’ skirts and the haunting loneliness of a midnight street in Barcelona.  All of these and more ran through my mind as I listened to the brilliant tones and the smoky echoes of her truly magical guitar.  Centuries of exquisite sounds and rhythms tumbled out.  It was pure magic, don’t you agree?

I’m so glad you were there to enjoy this extraordinary concert with me, and I hope you’ll come back for more.   The New York based ensemble, Rebel Baroque, will weave more magic with the help of flutist Matthias Maute November 12.  I promise enchantment.

– E Doyle

Pacifica Quartet with Sharon Isbin

Pacifica Quartet

Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, over the past two decades the Pacifica Quartet has achieved international recognition as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today.

Formed in 1994, the Pacifica Quartet quickly won chamber music’s top competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 2002 the ensemble was honored with Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award and the appointment to Lincoln Center’s CMS Two, and in 2006 was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Also in 2006 the Quartet was featured on the cover of Gramophone and heralded as one of “five new quartets you should know about,” the only American quartet to make the list. And in 2009, the Quartet was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America.

The Quartet’s 2017-18 season features performances with the guitar legend Sharon Isbin, the complete Beethoven cycle for the University at Buffalo’s renowned Slee Cycle, and multiple performances of the Mendelssohn octet with the Dover Quartet. Highlights of the 2016-17 season included a return performance at New York’s famed 92nd Street Y; the culmination of a two-season residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; tours with Johannes Moser, Jörg Widmann, and Marc-André Hamelin; and the debut of a new cello quintet by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe.

Sharon Isbin

Hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time”, Sharon Isbin,  as a woman in a male-dominated field,  has been a trailblazer in more ways than most classical musicians could ever dream. She has appeared as soloist with over 170 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in the world’s finest halls.

Born in Minneapolis, Sharon Isbin began her guitar studies at age nine in Italy, and later studied with Andrès Segovia and Oscar Ghiglia. Her teachers also included the legendary piano doyenne Rosalyn Tureck. She’s the first guitarist to record with the New York Philharmonic. What’s more, Sharon Isbin has had no difficulty straddling the worlds of classical music and pop culture; her playing is on the soundtrack of the Martin Scorsese Academy Award-winning film The Departed. She has won multiple Grammys and has commissioned an impressive number of works for guitar, from composers of vastly different styles including Leo Brouwer (Cuban) , John Duarte (British) and Tan Dun (Chinese). A frequent guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, she has been profiled on television throughout the world. On September 11, 2002, Ms. Isbin performed at Ground Zero for the internationally televised memorial. Among other career highlights, she performed  at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama in November 2009, and was the only classical artist to perform in the 2010 GRAMMY Awards. She has been profiled in periodicals from People to Elle, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as appearing on the covers of over 45 magazines. Her 2015 national television performances on PBS include the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize, Tavis Smiley, and American Public Television’s presentation of the acclaimed one-hour documentary on her life and work produced by Susan Dangel titled Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, seen by millions on nearly 200 PBS stations across the US, and the winner of the 2015 ASCAP Television Broadcast Award. The film was released with bonus performances on DVD/Blu-ray by Video Artists International. Watch the trailer at: www.sharonisbintroubadour.com

“The playing is nothing short of phenomenal.” Daily Telegraph, London

“Classical guitar’s reigning diva.” Dallas Morning News

Members:

Simin Ganatra (violin)
Austin Hartman (violin)
Guy Ben-Ziony (viola)
Brandon Vamos (cello)
Sharon Isbin (guitar)

Program

HAYDN
Quartet in G major, Op. 76, No. 1

CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO
Guitar Quintet in F major, op. 143

VIVALDI
Concerto in D major for guitar and strings, RV 93

-Intermission-

PUCCINI
I Crisantemi

BOCCHERINI
Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D Major, G.448

Venue

Temple Beth-El
Address: 211 Belknap Place
Time: 3:15 PM

Female Guitarists

Try Googling “female classical guitarists.” You will find a few dozen citations of people you’ve probably never heard of. I wondered why. There are female pianists and violinists by the score, but classical guitarists? The citations sooner or later descend to pop icons. It’s not that Janice Joplin wasn’t capable of playing, say, an andante, but the washboard style of playing is not really conducive to cantatas. I looked through the names and photos and found that many of the women were also composers, lauded for their talents during their eras, but not particularly well known now. For example: Have you ever heard of Ida Presti? Neither had I, I am ashamed to admit. She was that vanishingly rare person, a female classical guitarist. She was 10 in 1935 when she played her first professional concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris; she continued to perform and compose music for the acoustic guitar until her death in 1967. When she was 16 years old, she had the singular honor of playing Paganini’s guitar in a commemoration of his death in 1940. She appeared in films and was widely known for her prodigious talent. Do you recognize the name yet? No?

When you check out lists of classical guitarists, you will find not one woman’s name until you come to Catherina Josepha Pratten, identified only as a German guitar virtuoso, born in Mulheim in 1821 and laying her guitar to rest in 1895. Certainly you’ve heard of Mme. Pratten?

In the early 20th Century, we come to Maria Luisa Anido, better known for her compositions than for her performances. She was born in Morón, Argentina in 1907, and died in the “mid 80’s” in Tarragona, Spain. The only concert mentioned was her debut in Wigmore Hall in 1952.

At last, in this century, we begin to see a few female names among the listings of classical guitarists, but the vast majority of names are male.

The guitar is the quintessential musical instrument for a woman to play. It can shade emotion, it can soothe or scream. It can express a range of feelings that go far beyond six strings.

Makes you wonder. Are women not able to play an acoustic guitar? Perhaps their fingers are not strong enough – but have you ever watched a female harpist at work? Perhaps they constitutionally have trouble focusing on two hands doing different things at the same time. Ever seen a female pianist – or, for that matter, a mother with two-year-old twins? Perhaps the violin is more suited to female musicians. After all, the movements are graceful, the music is sweet. But the guitar is an instrument of passion, an accompanier of flamenco and wild Gypsy dances. The guitar is the quintessential musical instrument for a woman to play. It can shade emotion, it can soothe or scream. It can express a range of feelings that go far beyond six strings.

So I hope you remember, as you listen to Sharon Isbin, a modern guitar virtuoso, that this particular woman understands the guitar. You will hear an instrument singing unlike any you have heard before, an instrument capable of expressing connections between the artist and the audience. And that’s the whole point, don’t you agree?

Don’t miss Sharon Isbin, multiple GRAMMY Award winning guitarist, in concert with the Pacifica String Quartet on Sunday, October 15th, 2017, 3:15 p.m. at Temple Beth-El. You will wish the concert never ends.

– E Doyle

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