St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble performs at Quick Center


St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, New York's preeminent chamber group, will perform on Friday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. A pre-concert "Art to Heart" discussion with Howard Kissel, chief drama critic for the New York Daily News, will take place from 7 to 7:40 p.m.

St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble is the artistic core of the larger Orchestra of St. Luke's. The ensemble includes 21 virtuoso artists who perform nationally and internationally with a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the contemporary.

The evening's program shows the variety for which the ensemble is known. Opening with Handel's "Concerto grosso in G Major, Op. 6 No. 1" and Corelli's "Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6 No. 8," it moves into two Telemann works, "Oboe Concerto in D minor" and "Concerto in E major for Flute, Oboe d'amore and Viola d'amore." The concert also features Pachelbel's memorable "Canon and Gigue in D major" and concludes with Bach's "Concerto for Two Violins in D minor."

The 11 musicians who will perform at the Fairfield concert are: Mayuki Fukuhara, Anca Nicolau, Naoko Tanaka and Mitsuru Tsubota, violin; Louise Schulman, viola; Daire FitzGerald, cello; Elizabeth Mann, flute; Stephen Taylor and Melanie Feld, oboe; John Feeney, bass; and Robert Wolinsky, harpsichord.

Taylor will be the soloist for the Telemann oboe concerto and soloists for the triple concerto are Feld, Mann and Schulman, who will play the viola d'amore, an instrument with six strings that are played and six strings under the fingerboard that resonate sympathetically. Field will play the oboe d'amore, an instrument akin to the English horn that has a deeper, mellower sound than an oboe. The soloists for the double concerto are Tanaka and Fukuhara.

The ensemble began in 1974, when St. Luke's President and Executive Director Marianne Lockwood and music entrepreneur Michael Feldman spearheaded a recital series at the Church of St. Luke's-in-the-Fields in New York City's Greenwich Village. Since its humble beginnings, the ensemble and the orchestra have branched out, now performing in small groups and larger orchestras, accompanying opera singers in recital and playing children's concerts. The ensemble doesn't have a permanent home, shuttling instead between concerts in Carnegie Hall and frequent recitals at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Caramoor Music Festival in Katonah, NY. It's also known for its free rush hour concerts at Temple Emanu-El, the world's largest Jewish house of worship.

"It drives us nuts sometimes, but it's so bloody exciting," Ms. Lockwood told Chamber Music magazine this summer.

And St. Luke's isn't playing the same stuffy program each time. The ensemble is known for both its rigorous performance schedule and its challenging programs, which have included Bach and Brahms, as well as Philip Glass, André Previn and Zhou Long. The group even joined Metallica in concert for a performance of the heavy metal band's greatest hits.

The ensemble's more than 70 recordings include two Grammy-winning releases, John Adams' "Nixon in China" and Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915." Recent recordings are "Haydn: Morning, Noon and Evening," "Bel Canto" with soprano Renée Fleming, and a soon-to-be released double CD of Bach's Brandenberg concerti.

The members of St. Luke's are as passionate about education as they are about their music. Through the St. Luke's Arts Education Program, the artists go into schools as an ensemble and play, then show their instruments to the students and talk about their lives and how musicians work together.

"There is communication while we're playing," St. Luke's Director of Chamber Music Krista Bennion Feeney told Chamber Music. "When we're playing, we're often able to communicate what we don't say. That's the human stuff that goes into making music - and that's what's so important."

Tickets to the St. Luke's concert are $30. For tickets, call (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 20, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 103