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Category: music – chamber

March
18th

Northwest Sinfonietta strikes gold, playing live to Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” in Tacoma’s historic Temple Theater

Saturday night was a first for a lot of Tacoma folks: the first time many had watched a silent movie with live orchestral accompaniment, and the first time the 21-year-old Northwest Sinfonietta had played in the Temple Theater. And although the ensemble had done Charlie Chaplin before, it wasn’t a 2-hour feature film. So the effect was even more impressive as the chamber orchestra struck gold, playing for Chaplin’s 1925 “The Gold Rush” with warmth, delicacy and the kind of precise visual synchronization that made you occasionally forget they were even there.

Of course, playing live music for a film in a historic theater built just one year after the film was made is delightfully appropriate, and watching the orchestra tune up in front of a big screen on that enormous stage flanked by art deco Egyptian pillars of aqua and gold is enough to send shivers down your spine. But the tricky part of accompanying film music as a group is keeping together and keeping up with the images – and the Sinfonietta, under phenomenally precise direction from Christophe Chagnard, did this brilliantly.

Interestingly, the evening began with a peek into just how difficult the task is. Chagnard pulled up scans from his 500-page score on the screen, pointing out the verbal cues (characters standing up, fighting, leaving) and his own extremely highlighted notes on cueing his orchestra. Read more »

March
13th

Charlie Chaplin takes the Northwest Sinfonietta to “The Gold Rush” in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup this weekend

Charlie Chaplin eating boots in "The Gold Rush." Courtesy image.
Charlie Chaplin eating boots in “The Gold Rush.” Courtesy image.

The Northwest Sinfonietta, whose usual domain is the classical chamber orchestra repertoire, had a brief flirtation with Charlie Chaplin four years ago, playing the score live to his silent films “A Dog’s Life” and “Shoulder Arms.” The affair was a success on all sides, and this weekend the ensemble is giving the silent movie maestro another chance to lead them into silliness and mayhem, playing live to a screening of Chaplin’s famous “The Gold Rush” in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup.

But they’re choosing different venues to do it. For Seattle they’ll stick with Benaroya Hall, but to give the film (and the audience) full capacity they’ll be playing in two historic theaters: Tacoma’s Temple and Puyallup’s Liberty, each built in exactly the same era as the Chaplin film.

By 1925, just one year before the Temple was built, Chaplin had seen great success with “Shoulder Arms” and “The Kid,” as well as dozens of short films. By then, too, the Klondike gold rush was turning from recent memory to romantic history. Chaplin was inspired by books, as well as a stereoscope card collection belonging to Douglas Fairbanks. Moving from elaborate on-location shooting at the Chilkoot Pass, with some 600 extras, to just-as-elaborate studio sets made of wood, burlap, chicken wire, plaster, salt and flour, Chaplin created his story of a Lone Prospector (Chaplin’s famous tramp character) who washes up in the Yukon and has every adventure from dance hall brawls to having to eat boots for sustenance, plus the famous scene of a fight in a cabin teetering on a precipice. Read more »

Feb.
20th

Ballet, art, music, film and fun all meet at Tacoma City Ballet’s 10th Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball Soirée, Saturday night at the Merlino Building

Masks by Tacoma City Ballet director Erin Ceragioli for the TCB Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball this Saturday. Courtesy photo.
Masks by Tacoma City Ballet director Erin Ceragioli for the TCB Mid-Winter Masquerade Ball this Saturday. Courtesy photo.

The Jan Collum Ballroom in the historic Merlino Building is perfect for a party: a sweeping balcony, gold Art Deco molding, the exotic whiff of ballet resin in the air. So that’s exactly what Tacoma City Ballet does every six months or so – transform its main rehearsal space into an elegant party scene filled with dance, music, fine art, film and food. On this Saturday, the next soirée has an added bit of fun: a masquerade ball.

Along with work by local photographers like Bill Hinsee, Jessie Felix, Denise Knudson and Scott Nelson, films by Ellington Tynes, poetry by Sandra King and original choreography by TCB’s Erin Ceragioli, Travis Goldman and Joel Myers, there’ll be live music by Touché: Eclectic Quintet, and guests are encouraged to dress up with masks.

Read more »

Dec.
9th

Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas – Day 7

Welcome to the Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas! Inspired by both the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and fellow features writer Sue Kidd, who’s offering you her own “Twelve Tacoma Foodie Gifts of Christmas” on her TNT Diner blog, I’ve come up with 12 alternative gifts for Christmas: no partridges in pear trees, but something a lot more uniquely local. (See older posts for the other days.)

 

So here’s Day 7:

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Seven concert tickets, six sumi paintings, five gothic rings…Four pottery bowls, three CDs, two baby

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April
25th

Cellist David Requiro plays with Northwest Sinfonietta in classical program at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Tacoma’s Rialto Theater and Puyallup’s Pioneer Pavilion

Cellist David Requiro, soloist with the Northwest Sinfonietta. Courtesy photo.

When you think classical, you might think Mozart, Haydn, even Beethoven. But this weekend the Northwest Sinfonietta want you to think Prokofiev and Mendelssohn. For their concerts in Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup the Tacoma-based chamber orchestra is playing a program that goes from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries – way later than the standard classical time-period – but includes two composers that took inspiration from the late 18th century, plus a cello concerto with stunning local soloist David Requiro.

Sergei Prokofiev opens the program, the Soviet-era composer who reinvented classical form and balance with modern harmonies and dissonances. His Symphony no. 1 is called “The Classical” for a good reason: a tribute to Haydn, it dances through 18th-century styles like the gavotte and sonata form with precision and grace, without any of the heavy depression of his later works. Read more »

May
5th

Seattle Symphony director Gerard Schwarz to conduct 2012 gala finale for Northwest Sinfonietta, with his son Julian as soloist

Conductor Gerard Schwarz. Photo: Yuen Lui.

The Tacoma-based Northwest Sinfonietta chamber orchestra has just announced that Gerard Schwarz, outgoing artistic director of the Seattle Symphony, will be guest conductor for a gala season finale in June, 2012. On the program is the Dohnányi Concert Piece for cello and orchestra, with Schwarz‘ son Julian as soloist.

“It is an immense privilege to bring a musician of Maestro Schwarz’ stature to our stage,” said artistic director Christophe Chagnard. “Taking on the reins of the Northwest Sinfonietta for our season finale is the greatest compliment he could pay us.”

Read more »

March
1st

Grants will support fine arts in Tacoma

Last summer, kids and adults alike created art on the fly by forming words from a jumble of wooden, painted letters at Tollefson Plaza in downtown Tacoma.

A newly announced grant will allow the artist responsible for the interactive installation to return to the plaza to mount a similar project. This time, James Sinding is creating wooden words that people can arrange into sentences and poetry.

Letters arranged at Tollefson Plaza

The project is among 18 innovative arts proposals that will proceed this year with the help of grants from the Tacoma Arts Commission. The panel this week announced $45,000 in awards to artists in visual arts, literary arts, film and music. The Tacoma Artists Initiative Program will provide $1,000 to $4,500 to the artists, who were chosen from 26 applicants.
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Feb.
13th

Northwest Sinfonietta and Laurie DeLuca offer elegant Mozart with an ethereal dusting of a new clarinet concerto

For its sold-out Mozartiana concert in the Rialto Saturday night, the Northwest Sinfonietta did what it does best: classical music, elegant and thoughtful, and capped with an ethereal new composition for clarinet by Alissa Firsova.

After opening with a Rossini overture – “La Scala di Seta” – that involved sprightly violins, edgy horns and a blossoming oboe solo, plus subtly quirky timing from director Christophe Chagnard, Firsova herself stepped forward to introduce her piece. Commissioned by Seattle clarinet soloist Laurie DeLuca and given a world premiere on Friday night in Seattle, the piece, as explained clearly and personably by the

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