Musica Borealis: Alaskan musicians bring chamber music to Soldotna

A bit of Brahms, some Beethoven, a piece by Max Bruch and a little Maria Theresia Von Paradis to round out the evening and a quintet of musicians will finish their inaugural concert Thursday at Kenai Peninsula College.

After practicing trios and quartets together for years, the group decided to name themselves Musica Borealis and give a chamber music concert.

“We have so much fun working on the music that we thought if we had a goal, like a concert, that would make us have more of a commitment to getting together and practicing and refining the music,” said Maria Allison, one of the group’s pianists. “It’s really easy to get together and play and say ‘oh that was easy’ and don’t do it again for a year.”

Emily Grossman, who plays violin, viola and piano, Jeanne Duhan, who plays the French horn, Tammy Vollom-Matturro, who plays the clarinet and Allison are all from the Kenai, Soldotna area while Kevin Charlestream, cellist, travels from Anchorage.

Musica Borealis has taken several years for the musicians to finally coalesce into one group.

“It’s really hard to find people who enjoy the music to the same degree you do and maybe are able to play the kind of music you enjoy playing,” Allison said. “It takes some doing to find a group or even three people, a trio, who can really mesh musical ideas. For example Kevin, good grief, he drives down from Anchorage to practice with us.”

The pieces the musicians selected reflect the varied concerts they’ve performed together.

The Beethoven Piano Trio in B flat major, was written for the violin, cello and piano. The Bruch — called 8 pieces, but the group will only be playing three of them — is for the clarinet, viola and piano and the Brahms pieces are both a horn trio and one movement of the Cello Sonata in E minor.

“It’s ... the first time we put all these different trios together in one concert,” Allison said. “I think it was just because we have so much fun working on the music.”

Allison said the group hoped to perform in the area again to showcase local talent.

“We’ll see how it all goes,” she said. “We have a pretty good group of talented people in this community, I think people are always surprised to know how much talent we have right here ... that’s something to be proud of.”

The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in room 109 at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus


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