The Carmel Music Society opens its six-concert season Jan. 9 with the Dover Quartet, a young American ensemble that rose to international fame after taking all the prizes at the prestigious Banff String Quartet Competition in 2013. Hailed as the next Guarneri Quartet by the Chicago Tribune, Dover has garnered similar praise from the New Yorker, New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among others. The ensemble undertakes a busy performance schedule this winter, beginning in California with concerts scheduled in Napa and Los Angeles as well as Carmel.
Their appearance at Carmel’s Sunset Center brings patrons an eclectic mix of works beginning with Haydn’s Quartet in D major (“The Lark”). Also on the program are Alexander von Zemlinsky’s Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 4 and Quartet No. 3 in D major by Mendelssohn.
Last season, the Dover Quartet used virtual technology for its debut with Berkeley’s Cal Performances and its first tour of Latin America. The quartet also released its first volume of the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle. Before the pandemic, Dover appeared with pianist Emanuel Ax at London’s Wigmore Hall. Equally comfortable with repertoire from a range of eras, the quartet has worked with some of the world’s foremost living composers, including Caroline Shaw and Mason Bates.
Cedille Records released the Dover Quartet’s “Voices of Defiance: 1943, 1944, 1945 ” in October 2017 and an all-Mozart debut recording in the 2016–17 season, featuring the late Michael Tree, violist of the Guarneri Quartet. “Voices of Defiance,” which explores music written during World War II by Viktor Ullman, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Simon Laks, was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year.”
The quartet’s program takes place at Sunset Center Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 831-625-9938 or online at www.carmelmusic.org. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before the performance is required. Masks must be worn at all times.
Yale’s Baker’s Dozen
The Baker’s Dozen of Yale University appears Jan. 9 at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel Valley. The singers will present a range of works, from traditional ballads to jazz, rock, and contemporary favorites. The ensemble, founded in 1947, brings 16 male undergraduates of Yale to the Carmel Valley church during their winter break tour. The group decides together on a tour region and then reaches out to Yale clubs and alumni for ideas. They have performed at the White House, the United Nations and overseas as far away as Japan.
California was chosen as the destination for this tour, with concerts also scheduled in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. The concert at St. Dunstan’s is being co-sponsored by the Yale Club of Monterey and takes place at 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and the concert is free for students and children. Masks are required.
St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church is located at 28005 Robinson Canyon Road in Carmel Valley. For more information call 831-624-6646.
Ensemble Monterey stages Mechem Opera “Befana – A Christmas Fable”
As promised, Ensemble Monterey’s fully staged version of its world premiere of Kirke Mechem’s opera “Befana – A Christmas Fable” will be presented at the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College in Aptos. A concert version took place in Monterey in November. Cheryl and John Anderson combine their choral and instrumental forces every year, bringing together the Ensemble Monterey players with the Cabrillo College choirs for larger-scale works. This year they are excited to present the premiere performances of the opera by Mechem, an internationally acclaimed composer who lives in Northern California.
Cheryl says she was thrilled when Mechem called and offered her the opportunity to be the first to perform his new work. When she played through the score for the first time, she says she was in tears by the third movement. “Being able to perform the world premiere of this important new work is a privilege and honor, not only for me but for all of us involved in this production.”
The fable of Befana is a favorite Italian legend of a woman who has lost her husband and her son and cleans her house endlessly, waiting and hoping for their return. She is visited by the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem who invite her to join them. She turns them down, fearing that she might miss the return of her loved ones, but later regrets her decision and tries, in vain, to find the wise men and the baby Jesus. Every year she travels the world on Jan. 6, Epiphany, the Twelfth Night of Christmas, leaving gifts for every little one because she finds love in the eyes of every child.
These performances take place Thursday, Jan. 6 through Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. at the Crocker Theater, Cabrillo College, Aptos. The theater will be at 60% capacity and masks are mandatory.
For tickets and more information call 831-333-1283 or visit ensemblemonterey.org
Monterey County Pops! Performs at First Night Monterey
Among the presenters at First Night at the Golden State Theater this year, Monterey County Pops! will offer a special program commemorating the 250th Birthday of the city of Monterey. Music director Carl Christensen says, “The full orchestra of 40 players will perform music from the various countries whose flags have flown over California: Spain, Russia, Mexico, England and Argentina. There will be something from the Gold Rush era! We will also feature folkloric dancers and we’ll have bubbly 1940’s music with big band era jazz.” The concert is free and will take place from 6-7 p.m.
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