The Gateway Chamber Ensemble has been making waves in the tight knit classical music community since they first formed in the fall of 2008. The group kicked off their 2010-2011 concert series with what they describe as a new beginning. “The recurring thread this season will be composers we’ve heard of but approached in ways they aren’t usually done,” Dr. Gregory Wolynec, APSU associate professor of music and director of the ensemble, said. “It included works that we might not have heard of before, that don’t have a natural home. They are too small to be done by a full symphony or orchestra, and yet they are too large to be done by a typical chamber group. All our works will be done with 10 to 25 players. For most of these pieces, these are the only performances in these conditions they’ll get all year.”
The evening’s performance featured the ensembles interpretation of masterworks such as Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 6 “Let Matin,” Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.”
The concert opened and closed with material with a light and uplifting feel especially Copland’s Applachian Spring.
Haydn is well known for his inventiveness, intricate forms, and musical humor so his Symphony No. 6 in D “Le Matin” made a fine fit with the nimble talent of the Gateway Chamber Ensemble. His music is easy to listen to, and quite enjoyable.
Barber’s Adagio for strings was a much more somber piece, one frequently been used as funeral music according to the English language version of the Wikipedia.
It was was broadcast over the radio at the announcement of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death, it was played at the funeral of Albert Einstein, and at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco, it was performed in 2001 at Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks, replacing the traditional upbeat patriotic songs. On April 13, 2010 Adagio for Strings was performed at the special joint session of the Polish Parliament and Senate three days after the tragic plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczy?ski among others.
It was voted the “saddest classical” work ever, ahead of “Dido’s Lament” from Dido and Æneas by Henry Purcell, the “Adagietto” from Gustav Mahler’s 5th symphony, Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss and Gloomy Sunday as sung by Billie Holiday.
When the Gateway Chamber Ensemble played it, you could feel the sadness pulsing along you bones, which was why I was quite glad when it was time for Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring.
You could feel your spirit soaring with the music to new heights as the first hint of Spring touches the Eastern Tennessee Mountains, to the melting snow and the break up of the ice covered creeks and streams, to the budding of new life. Maybe it’s just the Tennessean in me but it was my favorite piece of the entire evening!
The concert was to put it plainly was simply outstanding.
Their season continues on November 8th with the Artistry of William Bennett. The concert will feature a visit by world renown flutist William Bennett who joins the Gateway Chamber Ensemble in a dazzling concerto for the flute and strings by C.P.E. Bach The program opens with contemporary American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Chamber Symphony. It also includes Franz Schreker’s lush and colorful Chamber Symphony which will be a true highlight of the season.
About the Gateway Chamber Ensemble
The Gateway Chamber Ensemble, is based around Austin Peay State University’s outstanding performing faculty and supplemented with the area’s leading professional musicians. Members of the ensemble include Lisa Vanarsdel-flute, Jeanette Zyko-oboe, Mingzhe Wang-clarinet, Brian Horner-saxophone, Dawn Hartley-basson, Francis Massinon-horn, Emily Hanna Crane-violin, Shu-Zheng Yang-viola, Michael Samis-cello, Timothy Pearson-bass, and the group is conducted by Gregory Wolynec. They perform milestone works of chamber music both from the past and from the present.
Gregory Wolynec, Music Director/Conductor
Lisa Vanarsdel, Flute
Jeanette Zyko, Oboe
Mingzhe Wang, Clarinet/Co-Artistic Director
Dawn Hartley, Bassoon
Francis Massinon, Horn
Emily Hanna Crane, Violin
Shuzheng Yang, Viola
Keith Nicholas, Cello
Michael Samis, Cello
Tim Pearson, Double Bass
Jeffrey Wood, Piano
David Steinquest, Percussion
The Ensemble also performs regularly as a part of the Dimensions New Music Series which is held at the campus of APSU, as well as in traditional concert settings throughout the region.