Academy of St. Martin in the Fields to Perform at The Carpenter Center

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Direct from London, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields will grace the Carpenter Performing Arts Center stage May 9 at 8 p.m. in their octet string configuration, performing works by Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg and Felix Mendelssohn.

Washington Post classical music critic Stephen Brookes described the ensemble as “a modern musical icon, its name synonymous with impeccable musicianship, irreproachable British taste and performances so polished that they fairly gleam.”

Violinist Tomo Keller will both lead the ensemble and perform. The octet will be comprised of four violins, two cellos and two violas.

This performance will be preceded by a 7 p.m. talk delivered by classical music radio announcer/producer Rich Capparela. Capparela will present a history of this renowned ensemble with a short discussion of the evening’s repertoire. Capparela’s presentation is made possible through the Carpenter Center’s Arts for Life initiative, which brings free performing arts events to the community throughout the year.

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble was created in 1967 to perform the larger chamber works—from quintets to octets—with players who customarily work together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests.

Strauss’s sextet from Capriccio will open the performance—an uncommon opportunity to hear an overture produced for a string chamber ensemble. “I can do no better than this,” Strauss has said of Capriccio.

Schoenberg’s Verklaerte Nacht (“Transfigured Night”), based on a racy poem, is often credited as the world’s first programmatic chamber music. Daring in its use of the bold harmonies and “forbidden chords,” this piece is perhaps more accessible to audiences today than it was when it was written in 1905.

Mendelssohn was only 16 years old when he wrote “Octet,” the piece that will conclude the ensemble’s Long Beach performance. Critic Conrad Wilson praised the work, noting that “its youthful verve, brilliance and perfection make it one of the miracles of nineteenth-century music.”

Single tickets are still available and on sale now. Single tickets start at $55. For tickets and more information, visit CarpenterArts.org or call the Carpenter Center Ticket Office at (562) 985-7000. This program is made possible in part by Season Media Partner KPCC 89.3-FM.

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