A new south suburban fine arts organization is presenting its inaugural concert this month in Flossmoor.
Avalon String Quartet will appear at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at Flossmoor Community House, 847 Hutchison Road. The concert by the highly-regarded Chicago ensemble is being presented by Amadè Chamber Camerata. There is no admission charge although free-will offerings will be accepted.
All four of the concert’s musical pieces were written in America and fit in with the “Made in America” theme of the Southland Arts, Municipalities and Business Alliance (SAMBA) fall festival. Two of the pieces were written by African-American composers.
“I am very excited about every element of the program,” said Dr. Charles Amenta, who recently initiated the Amadè Chamber Camerata. Amenta, a Flossmoor resident, is a longtime patron of the arts in the South Suburbs an Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra board member.
“Because I felt that the high-quality chamber music that I heard in high school for little money helped fuel my life-long interest in classical music, I wanted to start a similar series in the Southland,” Amenta said.
The first work, “Five Folksongs in Counterpoint,” is by Florence Price, an African-American female composer who was based in Chicago. Amenta said Price has been in the news lately after many of her lost manuscripts were found in an abandoned vacation house and now are being recorded.
The Avalon will play “Lyric for Strings” by George Walker, another African-American composer. It is considered the most popular piece written by Walker, who died in August at age 96. Amenta said the work was being performed in memory of his late father.
Steve Reich’s “Different Trains,” written in 1988, is the third work on the program. As a Jewish-American child in the 1930s and 1940s, Reich would take a train across America because his parents had divorced — one lived in New York and while the other in Los Angeles. Reich imagined that Jewish children his age in Europe were taking very different trains. The piece takes the brief recorded speech excerpts of people from his childhood trips as well as survivors of the Holocaust who took cattle cars to death camps. He then uses the live string quartet, as well as pre-recorded train whistles and sirens, to imitate the rhythm of the trains.
The concert concludes with Dvořák’s “American,” String Quartet No. 12, written when the composer was staying in Iowa in 1893.
“The melodies are full of Americana, and if audiences followed chamber music as much as they did orchestral music, it might be as well known as the Dvořák “New World” Symphony,” Amenta said.
Amenta said the new arts organization is named Amadè after Mozart, his favorite composer. Camerata refers to the Renaissance innovators for classical music in Florence.
More information about the concert or Amadè Chamber Camerata is available at the organization’s web site.