Chatter to perform works by Telemann, Dvorák

Violinist Sarah Kwak

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Next week’s Chatter Sunday spans a trio of eras from the Baroque to the romantic to the contemporary.

The Las Puertas Event Center concert features works by Telemann, the American composer John Harbison and Antonin Dvorák.

Oregon Symphony concertmaster and violinist Sarah Kwak will perform Telemann’s Concerto in G major with Chatter co-founder David Felberg and the Oregon Symphony’s Emily Cole and Vali Phillips.

The concert will be Kwak’s third at Chatter.

The musician began by playing on a one-sixteenth sized violin at age 4, using the Suzuki method. It wasn’t love at first bow.

“My parents presented this violin to me at 4,” Kwak said in a telephone interview from Portland, Oregon. “Honestly, I didn’t care one way or the other, but I knew they wanted me to say ‘yes.’ I happened to have an affinity for it, and I took off right away.”

At 12, she was enrolled in the Curtis Institute’s high school program. By 18, she had completed a bachelor’s degree at the prestigious Philadelphia music school.

The passion for her chosen instrument didn’t come until adulthood. By that time, she was associate concertmaster with the Minnesota Orchestra.

“I started to really appreciate what I was doing,” she said. “I really love my job.”

Kwak also will join the musicians on Dvorák’s Terzetto for Violin and Viola. Composed in 1887, this warm, lush work brims with the balanced harmonies the composer made famous. “Terzetto” means a composition with three parts.

“It’s an unusual combination,” Kwak said. “You don’t see the two violins and a viola combination.

“The first two movements are really beautiful,” she continued. “The third is a rollicking, rustic dance.”

At the time, Dvorák was living in his mother-in-law’s house, where she had rented a room to a chemistry student who was an amateur violinist. The composer (a violist) often heard his student neighbor playing duets with his violin teacher and wrote the trio to join them.

Harbison modeled his “Twilight Music” after Brahms’ trio for the same instruments. Felberg, pianist Judith Gordon and horn player Nathan Ukens will play this evocative piece filled with spacious harmonies and up-tempo sections.

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