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SOLI concert gives musical voice to tradition

SOLI Chamber Ensemble

TPR's Barry Brake interviews Stephanie Key about the upcoming SOLI Chamber Ensemble program, "Voiced," happening on Monday at 7:00 p.m. at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

Barry Brake: Welcome back to Classical Connections! And tell us all about Monday. Sounds like it's going to be exciting.

Stephanie Key: We are very excited. We really looked forward to each concert on each program on our series this year. But this is a very special one, not just the repertoire, as you know what we love to present are composers that seldom get played in San Antonio. But this is extremely exciting because we're bringing in and collaborating with two friends and a wonderful ensemble, ensembleNEWSRQ, to do this performance with us. And it's it's going to be a really wonderful exploration of new music.

Now, we just heard from the piece by Gabriela Lena Frank. We're about to hear something from Lou Harrison, tell us a little bit about what we're about to hear.

As you know, it's very rare that SOLI plays a piece of music by someone that is no longer with us. Lou Harrison is a special case, though. Lou Harrison was a California, American composer who really turned music on its ear. And it still is fresh and wonderful today. And this work is actually for... This will feature Samantha Bennett and George Nixon, who are ensembleNEWSRQ and our very own Carolyn True on a wonderful work called "Varied Trio." This is the middle movement. I think you'll really enjoy the sounds of the rice bowls and violin and mallets on strings in the piano.

The concert is at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 7:00 p m this coming Monday. All the information is at SOLIchamberensemble.com. Here's a preview of coming attractions, "Bowl Bells" on KPAC. [music excerpt] That scintillating music was "Bowl Bells" by Lou Harrison. Was that interesting stuff. You're going to hear it live this coming Monday in a concert called Voiced, that's happening Monday evening, 7:00 pm, February 27th, at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The SOLI Chamber Ensemble is playing all the information is at SOLIchamberensemble.com. Stephanie Key, that stuff has just got to be fun to play!

Absolutely. I've had the luxury of hearing George and Sam play this live and it is scintillating. I mean, you nailed it. Very exciting and there's just not music like that you know where you're actually he's using sticks on rice bowls and you're getting all of those different pitches. It's very cool to watch and it's very cool to hear.

Well, one of the things I love about the SOLI Chamber Ensemble is they do stuff that is new. I'm just thinking back to the days of Haydn. You know, the Military Symphony included tinkling metal things that people just hadn't heard before, literally had not heard before, Zildjian cymbals from Turkey and things like that. And it just must have excited kind of the same feelings that we get now listening to some of this stuff. And you've got other things on the program as well.

Yes, it's kind of exciting because we're really giving George a workout on this program because we're featuring him on this wonderful piece called "Pinkster Kings," which was actually just premiered last year. Trevor Weston is a fabulous composer. "Pinkster Kings" is an unfamiliar term to many, but basically it's a kind of a slang term for Pentecost. This was actually kind of in the Afro-Dutch traditions during the very early formation of New York, the new city of New York. It's a topic that we don't talk about a lot, but these were basically former slaves that were coming and saying, for reparations, Kimberlyn Montford here from San Antonio, a faculty member at Trinity University, is going to be our narrator for this. And it's just a really fabulous piece for violin, clarinet, cello, piano and percussion and narrator. And he really, George, on percussion really gets to be kind of the the marching band that's kind of leading us down the street as we're going to ask for reparations from the people in charge. So it's a very cool piece. And also on the program, we have a piece by Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, a wonderful Native American composer that's called "Imanompa’," which is "Raccoon Talk." "Shawi’ Imanompa’." And Ertan Torgul, our violinist with SOLI, will be chattering the troublemaker kind of Chickasaw raccoon song and inviting the the audience to be a part of that. So a very cool piece too.

And then there was something by Ludmila Samodaieva...

Yes, a piece that she actually wrote last year while in Paris after fleeing Ukraine with her husband during the invasion. So that will be a wonderful piece for clarinet and piano that we're looking forward to playing.

Always speaking to the moment, the SOLI Chamber Ensemble with exciting new music. It's happening Monday, the 27th, this coming Monday, 7:00 pm at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. All the information is at SOLIchamberensemble.com. Stephanie Key, thank you so much for joining us on Classical Connections.

Absolutely. Thanks so much for your time, Barry.

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Barry Brake is a composer, jazz and classical pianist who has been a part of San Antonio's music scene for decades. You can find his musings and musical exploits online here: http://barrybrake.com/