Serenata of Santa Fe’s chamber music concerts can be full of surprises. The ensemble’s artistic director and oboist Pamela Epple programs lesser-known works by some familiar composers like Dvorak, Schubert, Mahler and Fauré but also relishes introducing audience members to emerging composers and esoteric pieces.
“When I know about a piece that’s really enticing that I think fits the personality of the group, I send it to some of Serenata’s main musicians to get their feedback,” states Epple, who offers insight into the way she programs concerts.
On November 13, Slipstream features music by Massachusetts composers and Guggenheim Fellowship winners Tison Street and Thomas Oboe Lee and an unusual Dvorak quintet that Epple describes as “lush.”
“Tison’s ‘Adagio in E flat’ (oboe, string quartet and double bass) is a gorgeous, one-movement work,” says Epple, who played the piece in Santa Fe about five years ago and will present it as the concert’s opening work. Lee’s “Morango…Almost a Tango,” which was written for and recorded by the Kronos Quartet, features violinists David Felberg and Ruxandra Simionescu-Marquardt, violist Shanti Randal and cellist Dana Winograd. Dvorak’s String Quintet No. 2 in G Major gives double bass player Frank Murry a chance to shine.
Serenata of Santa Fe takes a break during the holiday season but returns on January 15 to perform works by contemporary composers Kenji Bunch and Mark O’Connor. The world premiere of “A La Luna” by Santa Fe composer Ron Strauss is the highlight of the February 12 performance.
Music written for the Kronos Quartet by the 35-year old New York composer Alexandra du Bois is showcased during Serenata’s March 26 concert. “I discovered Alexandra’s ‘String Quartet No. 1’ a year ago and contacted her right after I heard it,” explains Epple, who is impressed with “the global feeling to her work.”
The 2016-2017 season ends on May 7 when Serenata of Santa Fe presents Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” as interpreted by Santa Fe harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh.
While Serenata of Santa Fe has enjoyed playing in several different venues throughout town, it has found a home at First Presbyterian Church during the past three years. Tickets are available online or at the door.