Stones River Chamber Players celebrate fall with free Oct. 19 concert

The Stones River Chamber Players, MTSU’s ensemble-in-residence, will introduce their 2015-16 performance season with a free public concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, in Hinton Music Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building.

The ensemble members, all of whom teach in MTSU’s School of Music, are celebrating the fall season with the focus of their concert, entitled “Autumn Leaves.”

“We will focus on three great works from the 20th and 21st centuries,” said Arunesh Nadgir, SRCP co-director and one of the frequently featured pianists for the group.

Click on the graphic above to listen to streaming audio performances by the Stones River Chamber Players.

“This will evoke a wide range of moods and characters, as well as colorful instrumental and vocal combinations.”

The concert will begin with Randall Thompson’s “Suite for Oboe, Viola, and Clarinet,” performed by oboist Laura Ann Ross, violist Henry Haffner and clarinetist Todd Waldecker.

“Thompson’s ‘Suite’ is a little-known gem of the chamber repertoire that beautifully exhibits both the soulful heritage and upbeat optimism of the Americana sound,” said Waldecker. “It’s like visiting a church service and a hoedown in the same piece.”

The evening’s second selection, by Grammy-winning composer Libby Larsen, premiered in 2001 and uses cowboy dances as a point of departure. Waldecker will join MTSU flutist Deanna Little and pianist Adam Clark for “Barn Dances.”

“’Barn Dances’ is a collection of four movements based on dance steps used in cowboy dances,” Clark said. “The music is a lot of fun, making references to fiddle music, a hoedown jig and even the old cowboy songs of Gene Autry.

“Movement titles such as ‘Forward Six and Fall Back Eight’ and ‘Rattlesnake Twist’ accurately capture the spirit and energy of the piece. It’s an exciting work to perform and should be a lot of fun for the audience to hear.”

Last on the program will be Benjamin Britten’s “Three Songs from ‘The Heart of the Matter’” and “Canticle III.” Based on poems by Edith Sitwell, Britten’s works are “both profound and deeply personal,” said Nadgir.

Nadgir will be joined by tenor Stephen Smith and Angela DeBoer on the horn for the performance.

“I have always found singing Britten’s music to be both challenging and immensely gratifying,” Smith said. “He asks a lot of the singer, as he does of the other musicians who might be playing in the piece, but those of us who perform his music come away knowing we have come into contact with greatness and are all the better for having done so.”

The Stones River Chamber Players will continue the 2015-16 season Feb. 29 with music by composers André Previn, Johannes Brahms and MTSU music professor Paul Osterfield. The spring finale concert is set April 11, when the SRCP will perform compositions by Franz Schubert, Bohuslav Martinů and the premiere of MTSU music professor Jamey Simmons’ new work.

You can listen to streaming audio performances by the Stones River Chamber Players at www.mtsu.edu/music/srcp.php. For details on more MTSU School of Music performances, call 615-898-2493 or visit the School of Music’s Concert Calendar online.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)