By Natasha Anderson
AmiciMusic rings in the New Year with a Celebrate 2018 Music Festival—two weekends of concerts on January 5–7 and January 12–14 at various venues in Asheville and Black Mountain. The first weekend will include three performances of Music from the Underground, a program of works by minority composers performed by violinist Tim Schwarz and AmiciMusic artistic director and pianist Daniel Weiser. The concerts will include neglected compositions by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, George Morrison, William Grant Still and W.C. Handy.
“The music on this program lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere, but one that reaches even greater excitement and depth of feeling than the European masters,” says Schwarz. “It has been an amazing journey to learn these works and I look forward to discovering more in the future.”
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was a mixed-race English composer best known for his three cantatas based on the epic poem Song of Hiawatha, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Coleridge-Taylor made several celebrated tours of the US, where he was often referred to as the “African Mahler,” in the early part of the 20th century. William Grant Still was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra and the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company.
“Still was clearly a genius living in a world that had difficulty accepting that an African American could be so incredibly gifted,” says Schwarz. “Despite this, his music pulsates with life and energy. I usually feel like I am getting to know a composer personally when playing his or her works, but in this case, it is like being introduced to a whole new world.”
Music from the Underground will also include arrangements of several spirituals by George Morrison and blues by W.C. Handy.
Three performances of Winds of Winter will take place January 12–14, featuring the debut of the Brevard Woodwind Quintet. The quintet is comprised of five woodwind players from the Brevard Philharmonic Orchestra—flutist Leonard Lopatin, oboist Andrew Parker, clarinetist Steve Loew, bassoonist Will Peebles and French horn player Hobart Whitman.
“I have played with all of the members of the Brevard Quintet orchestrally and look forward to blending our voices in chamber music,” says Loew. “Each musician brings to the stage the highest level of artistry and experience.”
The program will begin with lively music by Danzi, Ibert, and Arnold. Next, Weiser will join the group on piano for the powerful Sextet for Piano and Winds by Ludwig Thuille.
For information about all concerts and to purchase tickets in advance, visit amicimusic.org and click on the “Asheville concerts” link.