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Musaica & The Soul of Music

Musaica Oboe Quartet
Musaica Chamber Ensemble
Musaica Oboe Quartet

Crescent Classical is thrilled to revisit past performances by Musaica Chamber Ensemble.

Listeners will have three opportunities to hear the program:

  • Friday, April 19th at 7pm on 104.9FM | WWNO HD2
  • Sunday, April 21st at 12pm on 104.9FM | WWNO HD2
  • Wednesday, April 24th at 9pm on 89.9FM


Adoration (1951)  Florence Price (1887-1953)  

Daniel Parrette, clarinet
Yuki Tanaka, Judith Fitzpatrick, violin
Bruce Owen, viola
David Rosen, cello

Florence Price was a pianist and organist, and also the first Black woman to have music performed by a major American orchestra. Her First Symphony was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. Price’s beautifully slow and melodic work on this program, Adoration, was written in 1951 for organ and has since been transcribed for a number of different instruments. This version for clarinet and string quartet was arranged by Algernon Robinson and was performed by Musaica in October 2021.

Serenade (1957)  William Grant Still (1895-1978)  

Yuki Tanaka, Judith Armistead Fitzpatrick, violin
Bruce Owen, viola
Rachel Hsieh, cello
Matthew Abramo, bass
Andrew Foley, flute
Stephanie Thompson, clarinet
Cathy Anderson, harp

William Grant Still achieved many “firsts” as an African-American composer and conductor. After early musical training at the Oberlin Conservatory and the New England Conservatory, he moved to Harlem and spent time arranging band music for notable jazz performers of the day including Artie Shaw. Still had his “Afro-American” Symphony performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1931, the first time a major orchestra performed a symphony by a black composer. Still was also the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra when he led the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1936. His opera “Troubled Island” was produced by the New York City Opera in 1949, the first work by a black composer to be produced by a major opera company. And in 1955, Still conducted the New Orleans Symphony, becoming the first African-American to lead a major orchestra in the Deep South. This performance of Serenade was performed by Musaica in January 2015.

The Air Was Green–A Remembrance (2013) Mollie O’Meara (b.1934) 

Judith Armistead Fitzpatrick, Yuki Tanaka, violin
Bruce Owen, viola
Dave Anderson, bass
Jane Gabka, oboe
John Reeks, clarinet
Cathy Anderson, harp 

Mollie O’Meara returns to New Orleans for the world premiere of "The Air Was Green--A  Remembrance"- her latest work to have its first performance by Musaica. Ms. O'Meara was last in New Orleans for her world premiere by Musaica of "New Orleans Sketches," a duo for bass clarinet and viola. Of Irish heritage, Ms. O’Meara says that for her green represents youth; new growth, as in springtime; the heart chakra; and the environment. Her new work, "The Air Was Green—A Remembrance" is a musical description of a time in her own life when she was discovering the importance of music, struggling to keep music in her life, and realizing that music defined her life as nothing else would. Ms. O'Meara has been a musician since starting piano lessons when she was eight years old. She went on to earn a Master's degree in Theory and Composition from the School of Music at the Ohio State University in 1977. She was a founding member of Central Ohio Composers' Alliance, which featured several of her compositions. In 1990, Ms. O'Meara moved to New Mexico where she became active in the Women Composers' Guild, and received grants for the New Mexico Quincentennial celebration and for New Music Across America. She was also the commissioned composer for the New Mexico Music Teachers' Association in 1993. A freelance composer, she writes chamber music for small groups of instruments, songs for which she writes the lyrics, and some choral music. She also plays the oboe in two community bands and teaches piano. This performance of the third movement, No Time to Say Good-bye, was performed by Musaica in March 2013.

Piano Quartet in G Minor op. 45 (1886)  Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)  

1. Allegro molto moderato
2. Allegro molto
3. Adagio non troppo
4. Allegro molto

Yuki Tanaka, violin
Bruce Owen, viola
Stefan Koch, cello
Diana Thacher, piano

Gabriel Fauré was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. As one of the most important composers of his generation, his music links the end of Romanticism with the modernism of the 20th century, from Chopin to Schönberg, and was influential to many 20th-century composers. Fauré completed the Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor in 1886, shortly after the death of his father. The quartet premiered on January 22, 1887 with Fauré himself as pianist. The death bell motif in the Adagio was written in memory of the composer’s father. This performance of Fauré’s Piano Quartet was performed by Musaica in February 2020.

Program notes provided by Musaica

Many thanks to Bruce Owen and Musaica for their collaboration on this radio program. Musaica's 2023-2024 concludes with their final concert, The Soul of Music on April 22nd, at 7:30pm at UNO Performing Arts Center Recital Hall and April 23rd at 7:30 pm at Saint Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The concert will feature the recently rediscovered Piano Quintet in A minor by Florence Price and a Prelude for String quintet, Flute, and Piano, by William Grant Still. Also the beautiful Sonata for Flute and Harp by Jean Michel Damase; the classic Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Bass, by Musaica's own Dave Anderson; and a world premiere Quartet for Oboe and String trio by Mollie O'Meara.  

Visit Musaica for more information about their performances and musicans.

Crescent Classical is made possible thanks to the generous support of local classical music lovers Ann and Dr. Richard Strub and Dr. Bob Watzke.