Joining the Pierrot Chamber Music Festival for masterclasses and informal performances for Festival Participants
are the The Cramer Quartet Metropolitan Horn Authority on July 19 and Metropolitan Horn Authority on July 21!
The Cramer Quartet
Keats Dieffenbach, viola, Chiara Fasani Stauffer, violin, Jessica Park, violin, Shirley Hunt, cello
THE CRAMER QUARTET
With period instruments and an invigorating historically informed approach, the Cramer Quartet brings uncommon warmth, transparency, and texture to Classical and early Romantic repertoire as well as commissioned works that explore and expand the sound world of gut strings. The quartet’s stylish, nuanced interpretations and visionary approach to programming stimulate dialogue around old and new works, inviting audiences to listen with fresh ears. Based in New York City, members of the Cramer Quartet are persons of color, women, non-binary/transmasc and LGBTQ+ individuals committed to advancing cultural equity in classical music.
Highlights of the 2021-22 season include performances of The Seven Last Words Project— an immersive multimedia journey through Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ as reflected upon by seven diverse contemporary composers— at Five Boroughs Music Festival; as well as appearances at Music Mountain Summer Chamber Music Festival, GEMS Midtown Concerts, and a residency at Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil. Recent appearances include Boston’s Society for Historically Informed Performance and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s “Art in Tune” event— a multidisciplinary site-specific collaboration in which the CQ paired artwork from the museum’s galleries with a series of rarely heard works performed on a set of 18th-Century musical instruments from the MFA’s collection.
This coming spring the Cramer Quartet will launch Haydn: Dialogues, an ambitious multi-year cycle combining Haydn’s 68 string quartets with sixteen new commissions by composers of marginalized identities. Each of Haydn’s 16 opuses becomes an invitation for a composer to create a response for historical instruments in their own unique musical voice. The inaugural concert will feature the world premiere of a new work by American composer Alexandra du Bois to be performed alongside Haydn’s Op. 20 quartets. With this project the quartet marries its passion for historical performance with a commitment to rebalancing the string quartet canon by centering the voices of women, non-(cis)males, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ folx and other communities historically underrepresented in classical music.
The Cramer Quartet is the recipient of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement grant as well as Chamber Music America’s Ensemble Forward professional development grant. The ensemble has been awarded multiple residencies at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and takes its name from Wilhelm Cramer, a brilliant violinist who enjoyed a multifaceted career as London’s first major string quartet leader. Cramer is credited with popularizing a late 18th century violin bow which became the inspiration for the style of historical bows used by the Cramer Quartet.
Blair Hamrick, Kevin Newton, Ser Konvalin, Peter DelGrosso
METROPOLITAN HORN AUTHORITY
Since its inception in 2017, Metropolitan Horn Authority has been the premier contemporary horn ensemble of New York City. MHA combines elements of classical, jazz, and pop to create a unique musical experience for a wide variety of audiences. They have partnered with the Chelsea Symphony for outreach at Riker's Island in 2018, performed educational shows, performed at community events such as the Queens Night Market, and are a continuing performing ensemble with the program, "Mozart for Munchkins." After winning an audition as a "Music Under New York" ensemble, Metropolitan Horn Authority has played across all of New York City bringing horn quartet music to those who would not have had the chance otherwise. Metropolitan Horn Authority performs arrangements and original works for horn quartet as well as quartet with piano, bass, guitar, and drums in unique venues such as Rockwood Music Hall and DROM.
As each member has an extensive background in orchestral performance, MHA has tackled the classic horn quartet repertoire including a performance video of Sonata for Four Horns by Paul Hindemith in 2020 and Heinrich Hubler's Concert Piece for Four Horns with the Yonkers Philharmonic in 2018. They will be performing the Michael Tippett Sonata for Four Horns at the Pierrot Chamber Music Festival this July, 2022. Avid recording artists, MHA's first EP, self-titled, was released on Spotify in 2019 with all of the arrangements done by founder Peter DelGrosso. In addition to the album, MHA has 18 produced music videos all available on their YouTube channel.
As recipients of Chamber Music America's "Ensemble Forward" grant in 2020, MHA worked with hornist Jeffrey Scott on new music, arranging, and our newest recordings, including a piece of his - "Circle Dance." Metropolitan Horn Authority also recently received the Mier Commission Fund through the International Horn Society for a commission from Jessica Meyer to be performed and recorded in 2023.
Peter DelGrosso founded Metropolitan Horn Authority in the fall of 2017 and has been working as a horn player, educator, and composer/arranger in New York City since 2014. As a performer he has traveled through China as principal horn of The Philadelphia Festival Orchestra, to Switzerland as the horn player for the Talis Festival & Academy, and also to Sweden and Columbia. Most recently Peter was a guest artist and brass clinician for the Casalmaggiore International Music festival in Casalmaggiore, Italy. Peter is an active member in orchestras throughout New York including The Chelsea Symphony, Manhattan Symphonie, and New York Wind Orchestra. He is currently the principal horn of the Yonkers Philharmonic in which he was a soloist in 2018. He also performed Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 with The Chelsea Symphony in 2019.
Receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, Peter was awarded "Outstanding Achievement in Music Education." Peter is an enthusiastic educator and is on faculty at the Long Island Conservatory. He is also the Creative Director of Mozart for Munchkins, an interactive concert series for children.
Ser Konvalin is most passionate about exploring distinctive, quirky pieces written for horn in a chamber, orchestral, and teaching setting. In 2020, they commissioned and performed the solo work, "Seeking Every Resolution" by Nikea Randolph. In Fall of 2021 they will join the teaching staff at Manhattan School of Music Precollege. They currently play in The Orchestra Now program at Bard College, under the baton of Leon Botstein. They earned their Master of Music in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
They have played with orchestras such as the Montclair Orchestra, Brooklyn Symphony, the Round Top Festival Institute, and They had the opportunity to perform the obbligato horn part to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the MSM Chamber Sinfonia under George Manahan. Ser was a recipient of the Clyde Miller Horn Solo Scholarship Competition and the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Competition with the Manhattan Five Wind Quintet.
Kevin Newton is the newest member of the GRAMMY-nominated wind quintet, Imani Winds. A native of South Boston, Virginia, he is a horn player and educator based in Manhattan. His first music teacher, his mother, instilled in him a love of music-making’s collaborative spirit. As a chamber musician, he has performed with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Metropolitan Horn Authority, Roomful of Teeth, and Tredici Bacci, among other ensembles. He has appeared professionally on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and National Sawdust. An advocate for new music, Mr. Newton collaborated with composer Erin Busch to premiere a solo work as a part of the Contemporary Performance Institute at the Composers Conference in 2020. He is involved with several commissions set to premiere in the 2021–22 season. Mr. Newton formerly served as principal horn of the Waynesboro Symphony and, as an orchestral soloist, he has performed works by Gordon Jacob, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Franz Strauss. Mr. Newton enjoys a busy recording schedule and has recently recorded with Tredici Bacci, Metropolitan Horn Authority, Tex Crick, and Sami Stevens, as well as for commercial projects. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stony Brook University. He holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral performance from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a regular participant at Yellow Barn in Vermont. Mr. Newton joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2021. He is also on the horn faculty of Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege division and MSM Summer.
Blair Hamrick is passionate about horn performance and expanding its boundaries. She has performed and commissioned new solo works from composers Nirmali Fenn and Jason Mulligan, a trio from Samuel Beebe, and performed the late Donald Robb’s “Variations on a Chromatic Line” at a Composer Symposium in New Mexico.
As part of Metropolitan Horn Authority, Blair has recorded several albums, performs regularly with Mozart for Munchkins, and has performed at Rockwood Music Hall. She recently received a grant from the Meir Commissioning Fund to have a piece by Jessica Meyer written for the group. In addition to new music, Blair is a studio musician in NYC, recording for films, operas, and independent projects in addition to chamber and orchestral ensembles. Blair runs a private lesson studio, gives masterclasses, and gives consultations for composers writing for horn. Blair is currently working on her DMA at Stony Brook University.
Keats Dieffenbach, viola
Equally comfortable on the stages of Carnegie Hall and the set of Saturday Night Live, Keats Dieffenbach has established themself as a unique artist with infinitely varied interests and abilities. Lauded by the New York Times as an "impressive performer," Keats' dual specialization in contemporary and historical performance on multiple instruments keeps them in demand with many leading ensembles. Keats is a member of Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble, Juilliard415, and The Serenade Quartet, and they have appeared frequently with The Knights, A Far Cry chamber orchestra, and Carnegie Hall's Ensemble Connect with whom they held a prestigious two-year fellowship position. An avid chamber musician, Keats' collaborators have ranged from Emanuel Ax and Christian Tetzlaff to indie rock sensation Vampire Weekend. They have served as concertmaster under many leading conductors and has worked closely with composers Steve Reich, Shulamit Ran, Nico Muhly, and others. Keats studied modern violin with Robert Mann at The Juilliard School and served as Donald Weilerstein’s teaching assistant at New England Conservatory. They recently graduated from Juilliard’s Historical Performance program as a baroque violin student of Cynthia Roberts and Elizabeth Blumenstock.
Jessica Park, violin
Praised as an “exceptional talent” by the Frankfurter Neue Presse, violinist Jessica Park captivates audiences from New York to Seoul with a diverse and compelling array of solo and chamber music performances. Equally at home on both modern and baroque violins, Ms. Park has appeared internationally at such venues as the Cologne Philharmonie, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Vienna Konzerthaus; and stateside at Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Hall (Boston), and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.
A versatile and imaginative artist, Ms. Park is in high demand as an interpreter of baroque and classical repertoire. She can be heard frequently with the country’s premier period instrument ensembles, including the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, The American Classical Orchestra, and New York Baroque Incorporated. Her duo with fortepianist Ji-Young Kim was recently featured at the Boston Early Music Festival, and in 2017 Ms. Park founded the Cramer Quartet, a period instrument string quartet.
Ms. Park’s commitment to the art of string quartet playing has resonated strongly throughout her career, resulting in performances at the Metropolitan Museum, the Morgan Library, the New York Historical Society, and WQXR. She has worked closely with members of the Brentano, Cleveland, Emerson, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, Orion, Tokyo, and Ying Quartets. In 2018, Ms. Park and the Cramer Quartet participated in an intensive residency program at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute.
A native of Cincinnati, Ms. Park moved to New York City to attend the Juilliard School. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard, as well as a Professional Studies Diploma from the Mannes School of Music. Ms. Park was also a Fellow at the Yale School of Music, where she was a member of the Yale Baroque Ensemble. Ms. Park’s principal teachers include Mark Steinberg, Ronald Copes, Hyo Kang, and Robert Mealy.
Chiara Fusani Stauffer, violin
Swiss violinist Chiara Fasani Stauffer enjoys playing music ranging from the Baroque to the twenty-first century and has had the privilege of performing across three continents. Since relocating to the United States in 2012, Stauffer co-founded Time Canvas, a chamber music group committed to bringing innovative music to people across a broad section of society. In addition to her duties as a violinist, she serves as the artistic director of the ensemble. As a baroque violinist Stauffer performs with ensembles such as Apollo’s Fire, the Washington Bach Consort, and the Sebastians; and, she is a 2019 English Concert American Fellow. Other performance highlights include an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion with the East 4th Street Quartet, recording a critically acclaimed jazz album with saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio’s Transcendental Orchestra, and performing live on radio station WCLV as part of the new music group FiveOne Experimental Orchestra. Stauffer holds degrees from the Juilliard School and the Basel Hochschule für Musik, as well as a minor from the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Shirley Hunt, cello
Internationally respected cellist and viola da gamba player Shirley Hunt brings fierce imagination and integrity to the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Contemporary eras. Praised by The Strad as “stylish and accomplished,” she embraces an eclectic musical life as a multi-instrumental soloist and collaborator.
Ms. Hunt recently released her third solo album, J.S. Bach Suites & Sonatas Vol. 3. This recording is the third installment in an ambitious three-part recording project featuring Bach’s complete Cello Suites and Sonatas for Viola da gamba and harpsichord performed on an array of period instruments, including a rare five-string cello from 1720 housed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Ms. Hunt's previous recordings have been praised for her “soulful renditions,” “high-wire interpretations,” and “resonant, singing tone that stays in the mind" (Facts & Arts).
In high demand as viola da gamba soloist and continuo cellist for the Passions, Cantatas, and Concertos of J.S. Bach, Ms. Hunt has performed and recorded with the nation's leading period instrument ensembles including Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica, Bach Collegium San Diego, the Sebastians, New York Baroque Incorporated, Sonnambula, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity.
Ms. Hunt has performed solo recitals at DePaul University, the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the Boston Public Library, King’s Chapel, the Loring-Greenough House, the Early Music Series at the Bryon Colby Barn, and Spectrum NYC. Since 2011 Ms. Hunt has performed a yearly recital as an artist-in-residence at The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles. She has also appeared at the Phillips Collection, The Strathmore Mansion, the Library of Congress, La Jolla Music Society, National Sawdust, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Ms. Hunt was born into a musical family and is the younger sister of the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Ms. Hunt divides her time between Boston and New York City. She performs on a 1775 English cello by William Forster Sr.