Chamber Players

Williams Chamber Players

This free event is open to the public and general admission tickets will be available as the house opens at 7:30 p.m.

The program includes Russell Platt: Sonata for Violin and Piano; Brahms: C Major Piano Trio; and Allen Shawn: Dreamscape for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon.

The Williams Chamber Players present another fascinating concert of classical and modern music featuring some of the music faculty’s finest performing musicians. Offering programming and a performance standard of world class quality, there is no regular music series to top this anywhere at this price, which is free.

Hearing these musicians, a group dedicated to performance and to teaching, helps to explain why a small liberal arts college in the Berkshires can consistently attract and produce great musicians. Violinist Joanna Kurkowicz, a sought after recording artist and concert master, shares the stage with Joana Genova, a string player known for her vivacious style; cellists Ronald Feldman and Nathaniel Parke are both performers of the highest caliber. In this setting, Mr. Feldman shows his instrumentalist side: the former Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist commands respect with local audiences as the maestro of the Berkshire Symphony. The chance to hear him on his “native” instrument is a treat not to be missed. Also featured are Carl Jenkins, principal oboist with the Berkshire Symphony and Stephen Walt, principal bassoonist with the Berkshire Symphony and the Albany Symphony. Doris Stevenson, a soloist and accompanist with a reputation for flair and sensitivity either leads or supports from the keyboard as required.

The Williams Chamber Players never satisfy themselves with simply dashing out favorites or limit the experience to just one style. In this spirit they present the recent work Sonata for Violin and Piano by Russell Platt. The composer writes most tantalizingly, “The first four pitches act as a kind of provocation in the first movement, a spade thrust into the garden dirt from which the piece grows.” If this is not enough to intrigue potential listeners, it is interesting to note that Russell Platt is a music editor at The New Yorker and the classical music curator of the Westport (CT) Arts Center.

Composer Allen Shawn has lived in Vermont since 1985, where he is on the faculty of Bennington College. In addition to composing and teaching, he performs frequently as a pianist, and is also the author of many articles and two books. His work, Dreamscape for oboe, bassoon, violin and cello, composed in 1994 is a featured work on this concert. The title suggests a music that proceeds through a chain of free-associations, transformations, and sudden shifts in mood.

Composed between 1880 and 1882 by Johannes Brahms, the C Major Piano Trio for piano, violin and cello contrasts in style and intent from the other pieces on the program, while showing off the mastery of the group and their deep love of classical repertoire. The C Major is a later work by Brahms which culminates in an effervescent finale.

The Williams Chamber Players is a resident chamber ensemble, founded at Williams College in 1999. It’s purpose is to present concerts for the college and community throughout the academic year. Antecedents of the Williams Chamber Players are The Williams Trio, founded in 1970, and the Group for 20th Century Music, founded in 1989. Repertoire for concerts is drawn from the standard chamber music repertoire with special attention to music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and to music by Williams composers. Musicians are normally drawn from the ranks of Artists-in-Residence, Studio Instructors, and other faculty, as well as occasional visiting artists.