Clarinet Quintets Old and New tonight at St. Luke’s Festival of the Senses.

Five musicians from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will play a free Festival of the Senses concert at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Clarinetist Kelly Johnson, violinists Andrew Irvin and Meredith Maddox Hicks, violist Katherine Williamson, and cellist Stephen Feldman will play Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major and contemporary Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh’s “The Fence, the Rooftop, and the Distant Sea.”

The concert, which is free and open to the public, is the fourth in the 2019-20 season of the Festival of the Senses performing arts series sponsored by St. Luke’s and will be followed by a reception in the church’s parish hall.

Written in 1789 and sometimes called the Stadler Quintet, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s only completed clarinet quintet is one of his most admired works. His Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581, has four movements: Allegro, Larghetto, Menuetto, and Allegretto con Variazioni.

Image result for the fence the rooftop and the distant sea“The Fence, the Rooftop, and the Distant Sea” by Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh is a work in five movements inspired by memories of his Damascus birthplace in a distant view of the Syrian coastline seen from a rooftop in Beirut. Azmeh has achieved worldwide fame as a clarinetist and composer with a distinctive voice across diverse musical genres.

A graduate of the Julliard School with a doctorate in music from the City University of New York, he has taken his music around the globe as a soloist, composer and improviser.  His album “Uneven Sky” with the Deutsches Symphony Orchestra won the OpusKlassik Award in 2019, and he is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, whose 2017 Grammy Award-winning album “Sing Me Home” features Kinan as a clarinetist and composer.

Festival of the Senses presents Music for the Holidays on December 10 at St. Luke’s

sheet music with holiday ornaments, ribbons and evergreen branchesOn Tuesday, December 10, at 7:00 p.m., Festival of the Senses will present a holiday concert of music by Sant-Saens, Brahms, Yon, and traditional carols played by May Tsao-Lim at the piano, Andrew Irvin on violin, and David Renfro on French horn.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, is the third in the 2019-20 season of the performing arts series sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 4106 JFK Boulevard. A reception with holiday treats will be held in the church’s parish hall following the performance.

The program will be as follows:

  • Caprice in the Form of a Waltz, Opus 52, No. 6, for Violin & Piano by Camille Sant-Saens;
  • Trio for Horn, Violin & Piano, Opus 40, by Johannes Brahms;
  • Gesu Bambino, by Pietro Yon;
  • A selection of traditional carols to be sung by the audience.

Festival of the Senses is a performing arts series created in 2011 by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church as a gift of the arts to the community to entertain, enlighten, and inspire.

May Tsao-Lim, who played in the Eric Hayward memorial concert for Festival of the Senses in September, teaches applied piano and piano pedagogy at Henderson State University, where she is Assistant Chair of the music department and Director of International Music Festivals. She has also taught at Iowa State University and Malaysia’s University College Sedaya International

ASO concertmaster Andrew Irvin is well known to Festival audiences as a member of the duo ARmusica. He also plays in the Camino Trio and recently was heard as substitute concertmaster with the Omaha Symphony. He has concertized across America and throughout Europe on his 1765 Gagliano violin, and his recordings are available on the Potenza and Naxos labels.

Since 2005, David Renfro has been the ASO’s principal horn player and also serves as the orchestra’s chief development officer. He is a member of Etesian Winds, a woodwind quintet, and the ASO Brass Quintet, and has taught at Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University. He was previously the principal horn in the Texarkana and Missouri Symphony Orchestras.