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A Far Cry, pianist to present new work by Glass

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When 18 young Boston music students decided to join forces in a chamber group, they began brainstorming names.

Someone came up with A Far Cry. It was 2007. At first, they tossed it before cycling back.

“When we started, we wanted a name that was a little bit different,” violinist Megumi Stohs Lewis said. “Some of us love the fact that it has ‘cry’ in it.”

And so A Far Cry, aka The Criers, was born.

The musicians will join pianist Simone Dinnerstein at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

The group will perform a new work for piano and strings by Philip Glass. A Far Cry commissioned the piece, which Glass dedicated to Dinnerstein. The work germinated when the pianist and Glass met for breakfast and discovered a mutual love of Bach.

The musicians will pair Glass’ work with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, written for three violins, three violas, three cellos and a bass.

Dinnerstein is well-known for her Bach interpretations. Her recording of the Goldberg Variations reached No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts.

“Philip Glass we think was inspired by certain parts of Bach’s pieces,” Lewis said.

The Glass concerto boasts a maze of intricate parts, violinist Alex Fortes said.

“At one moment there’s 18 strings playing,” he said. “I’ve thought that it mirrors the Bach concerto, which has several parts to it.”

“It’s a new piece that’s going to live on in the repertoire,” Lewis said. “It’s extremely lush and romantic.”

“When I first heard the first two movements, it was like a Rachmaninoff piano concerto like it was distilled through a house of mirrors,” Fortes added.

Glass dedicated the last movement to the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, who was known for his choral writing.

The conductor-free ensemble merges its musical perspectives through collective decision-making and rotating leadership.

“We kind of straddle the lines of an orchestra,” Lewis said. “We kind of found our home in these 18 string players. The sound is very powerful.”