Tag Archives: Chamber Orchestra

Guitar quartet features young new member

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The San Francisco Guitar Quartet performed for the Linfield Chamber Orchestra Series Concert on Feb. 15 in Ice Auditorium. The quartet featured “musical genius” 14-year-old Roberto Granados and his younger brother.

The highly esteemed San Francisco Guitar Quartet (SFGQ) performed Feb. 15, marking the second con- cert of the Linfield Chamber Orchestra Series. The group’s talented members demonstrated unique instruments and original compositions.

One of the most sought- after quartets since its begin- nings in 1997, the SFGQ is comprised of distinguished musicians, including award- winning guitarist Mark Simons, Carnegie Hall debutant Patrick O’Connell, classical guitarist Jon Mendle and their newest and young- est member, Roberto Granados—who, at only 14 years old, is considered a “musical genius” by the other members.

Introduced by Faun Tiedge, department chair and professor of music, the quartet performed a variety of pieces representing different musical styles, while paying tribute to Oregon- based composers.

The quartet began the concert with a performance of “Marenje,” a soft, intricate piece that reflects African polyrhythms, composed by Ashland native, Mark Knippel.

The next local Oregon composer to be represented was Bryan Johanson, whose arrangement of “Toccata”
was performed.
“We’ve recorded this on our third CD, ‘Silhouette,’” Simons said.

“Silhouette” is one of SFGQ’s highly praised albums, with “Black Opal,” “Chasing Light” and “Com- padres” completing the current collection.

The concert featured a song from each of the albums, with a performance of “Opals,” by Australian composer Phillip Houghton.

“This was one of the first pieces we recorded on our first CD in 2001,” Simons said.
Simons introduced “Opals” with a short description of the composer and his unique ability to hear colors—often referred to as sound-color synesthesia.

Mendel further described the intricacies Houghton’s synesthesia added to the physical performance of “Opals,” explaining that the arrangement called for specific strumming and plucking placement on the strings.

“Playing away from the center of the guitar makes a more metallic sound,” Mendel said.
After a performance of another arrangement by Houghton, the quartet presented “Black Diamonds,” and “Burning Moon, Frozen Sun,” which are original pieces by Granados.

The concert program said that there would be a performance of Andrew York’s “Pacific Coast High- way,” but the quartet made an impromptu decision to give Granados a solo performance of an original flamenco-style piece.

“We want to show off our newest member,” Simons said.

Joining Granados on stage for the performance
was his 8-year-old brother Ernesto, who accompanied him on the Cajón.

Granados explained that the instrument was a wooden box with guitar strings on the inside, that, when slapped on the front face of the box, a sound similar to that of a snare drum was produced.

To end the concert, the quartet performed “Mi Com- padre Nicolas,” a traditional arrangement and freedom fighting song that featured improvisations from each of the members.

After receiving a standing ovation, the quartet met with audience members and signed CDs that were available for purchase.
The performance was sponsored by WillaKenzie Estate.
For more information of The San Francisco Quartet, visit http://www.sfgq. com/.

Chrissy Shane
Features editor

Chrissy Shane can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.

Photo by Joel Ray/Senior photographer

LCO gives audience night of delicious “cookies”

The Linfield Chamber Orchestra’s conductor Michael Gesme said he was once told that music was like cookies—different countries have different tastes, and he would bring the audience different kinds of cookies.

The LCO performed Sept. 16 in Ice Auditorium.

The program’s theme, “Remembrance and Revolution,” reflected the conductor’s aim for the night “to highlight different areas of music.” Gesme explained that he started selecting the first two songs by considering the humble size of the Chamber Orchestra and the involvement of a soprano, which led to the involvement of a harp. He then chose the following two pieces that brought huge contrast to the formers, giving the audience a mixture of experiences.

The night was opened with Le Tombeau de Couperin, followed by Pavane pour une infante defunte (Pavane for a dead princess), both composed by French composer Maurice Ravel. Then, Natalie Gunn, soprano and instructor at Linfield, accompanied the ensemble to perform Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24 by American composer Samuel Barber, which earned a standing ovation from the audience.

After a short break, Gesme shared his passion for the unpredictability of Ludwig van Beethoven, who he described as a chocolate chip that “gives a surprise for every bite.” The ensemble then performed the German composer’s Symphony No.1 in C Major, Op.21, which ended with another standing ovation from the entire auditorium.

“The LCO began practicing two weeks before the show,” senior cellist Donald DeFrang said. With such a limited practicing time, DeFrang thought the practice was efficient and the conductor made it enjoyable. Gesme praised the student players for doing an excellent job. He explained that the LCO was a place that provided them with the opportunity for professionalism and acted as a “mentor orchestra,” where he hoped that students could learn from the experience.

The show proved to be a great satisfaction to the audience, musicians and the conductor. As for the conductor, Gesme said that the show was great and the orchestra did a great job.

The only change he believed was needed was “for the audience to grow,” he said. “The lower seats could have been more full– though the upper seats almost were.”

The Linfield Orchestra will continue its season with programs “Past and Present” on Dec. 2, “Revelation and Interpretation” on Feb. 24 and “Reformation and Consolation” on May 4.

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Cassie Wong/Staff writer
Cassie Wong can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.