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Jean Oelrich
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It's An Afternoon Of California-Inspired Chamber Music And Art At The Hilbert Museum When Partners Pacific Symphony And Chapman University Present Latest "INTERPLAY" Concert

Orange County, Calif. — October 12, 2017

Great music by outstanding musicians in an inspiring venue surrounded by fine art by many of California’s most noted artists—what more could you ask for? Maybe wine and cheese? (It’s got that too.) The public is invited to enjoy this (free!) chamber music performance, as Pacific Symphony and Chapman University join forces once again to present a concert as part of the INTERPLAY festival, featuring a string quartet from the Symphony and a cello ensemble from Chapman. Curated by Laszlo Mezo, member of the Symphony and lecturer at Chapman, the imaginative program was inspired by the collection held at the University’s Hilbert Museum of California Art and an upcoming special exhibition. It features a number of composers—from George Antheil to Lou Harrison, Terry Riley and more—who were writing music in California around the time the art works in the exhibit were created.

“The Symphony asked me if I would be interested in leading a concert at the Hilbert Museum, and the answer was of course, yes,” says Mezo. “I regularly perform chamber music nationally and internationally, and I couldn’t be happier to plan this event’s repertoire.

“We have two groups performing: the ChapCelli cello ensemble with University musicians and the string quartet with Pacific Symphony members,” he continues. “We’ll perform early Baroque to contemporary works and show connections between the pieces, locations and visual art. Most of the selections were inspired by the exhibition at the Hilbert Museum.”

The late-afternoon performance also features a Chapman graduate student reading poetry written by Chapman graduate students and inspired by the exhibit’s art, plus, a California wine and cheese reception follows the performance. The program takes place Sunday, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m., in the Hilbert Museum, located at 167 N. Atchison St. in Orange. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., with free parking in front and additional public parking on the top floor of the University structure at 230 N. Cypress. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served, with limited standing room at the back of the venue. Pacific Symphony and Chapman University are partnering for a fourth year to present INTERPLAY, a festival of arts and ideas. The festival includes many events free and open to the public, and offers audiences a fascinating, in-depth look at a particular facet of our culture that will entertain, enlighten, illuminate and inspire. For more information visit www.PacificSymphony.org and www.Chapman.edu/Interplay.

The Hilbert Museum at the University opened in 2016 and houses the Hilbert Collection, which includes oils, watercolors, sketches and lithographs of urban and industrial scenes, coastal views, farms, ranches and landscapes of everyday life; it is a significant repository of images of the 20th century by California artists, celebrating the unique artistic and cultural development of the Golden State. “Extending festival activities to the Hilbert Museum as part of last year’s festival seemed like a perfect fit,” shares Pacific Symphony Vice President of Education and Community Engagement, Susan Kotses. “After enjoying a full and enthusiastic house at our first chamber concert last year, we were delighted to have the opportunity to include two performances at the museum as part of this year’s festival.”

The Pacific Symphony String Quartet is made up of orchestra members Jeanne Skrocki, first vioin, Yen-Ping Lai, second violin, Adam Neeley, viola, and Mezo, cello. The ChapCelli Ensemble, led by Mezo, includes Chapman University cellists Lloyd Black, Lorianne Frelly, Haley Hedegard, Katie Kotar, Isabella Pepke and Charlie Story. The wide-ranging program spotlights the String Quartet performing Lou Harrison’s String Quartet Set: movement III, “Estampe”; Terry Riley’s “G song”; Philip Glass’s Quartet No. 4, “Buczak”: Part 3; and George Antheil’s String Quartet No. 3: movement IV, Allegro Giocoso. ChapCelli tackles Henry Purcell’s “Fantasia in 4 parts” and “In Nomine in 6 parts”; Béla Bartók’s “String Quartet No. 4, movements: II Prestissimo, con sordino, III Non troppo lento and IV Allegretto pizzicato; plus, Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres.”

 “I’m really excited to be performing the Bartók String Quartet No. 4 with the Symphony’s String Quartet—it’s one of my childhood favorites. Not to mention, my father is the cellist of the Bartók string quartet, and I grew up three miles away from Bartók’s house. Then, with the cello ensemble, I’m especially looking forward to playing the Arvo Pärt “Fratres,” which is my own arrangement.” 

Each year the INTERPLAY festival focuses on a new theme, explored through a multi-disciplinary lens. This year’s theme, Transcendings, celebrates the ways artists have approached the world of the spirit. The festival’s variety of interdisciplinary offerings will include both religious works and those that articulate and challenged the boundaries between the sacred and profane.

 “I think the relationship between our two institutions is so valuable,” remarks Mezo. “The students have opportunities to listen to a major orchestra, work directly with orchestra members, and most importantly, perform side by side. There is no other way to learn the craft of performing than in practice.” 

Over the past four years, the Symphony and Chapman have collaborated on annual interdisciplinary INTERPLAY festivals: Decoding Shostakovich (2014), Shakespeare Re-Imagined (2015), American Visions/American Voices (2016), Golden Dreams (2017) and Transcendings (2017-18). The content of each festival encompasses orchestra and chamber performances, theater, dance, lectures and academic symposia. Past collaborations were considered successes, with both institutions committed to continuing and deepening the partnership. To that end, both have contributed to a position of cultural partnership liaison, housed at Chapman but responsible to both—Susan Key.

“The benefits of the partnership are clear,” says Key. “For the University, collaboration offers expanded cultural opportunities for students and faculty; for the Symphony, collaboration offers a chance to engage in the greater intellectual life of the community and audience building opportunities with students; for both institutions, collaboration offers opportunities for community engagement in ways that draw on the strengths of each institution.

“What distinguishes the Chapman/Pacific Symphony partnership is the uncompromised level of artistic and intellectual content. Rather than tangential or simplified offerings, the collaboration works to cultivate synergy between the core activities of each institution,” she concludes. “This upcoming INTERPLAY concert is an excellent example of that.”