March 30, 1997 Library of Congress Presents the American Chamber Players
World Premiere Performance of Max Raimi's Clarinet Quartet
Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
On Tuesday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m., the American Chamber Players will appear under the auspices of the Library of Congress Concert Series at the Terrace Theater of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Two works by the Chicago-based violist and composer Max Raimi will be featured on the concert, his Variations on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman, K. 265, and the world premiere performance of his Clarinet Quartet, commissioned by the Carolyn Royall Just Fund in the Library of Congress. The program also includes Robert Schumann's Mrchenerzhlungen (Fairy Tales) for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, Op. 132, and Ernest Bloch's Quintet No. 1 for Piano and Strings.
Tickets for the concert are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis in the lobby of the Terrace Theater, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day of the performance. For additional information, call the Library of Congress Concert Line, (202) 707-5502.
Founded by Performance Today commentator Miles Hoffman in 1985, the American Chamber Players have earned a reputation for stellar musicmaking. The New York Times notes, "The American Chamber Players do excellent work -- imaginative programs of substance, performed with just those same qualities." Concertgoers on April 1 will hear six menbers of the ensemble: Elisabeth Adkins and Alexis Galprine, violins; Miles Hoffman, viola; Loren Kitt, clarinet; Jeffrey Solow, cello; and Edward Newman, piano.
Composer Max Raimi is a violist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra whose works have been commissioned by the American Chamber Players, Mohawk Trail Concerts, and the Mallarm Chamber Players, among many others. The new work to be premiered on the April 1 concert is a quartet for clarinet and string trio. The composer frequently incorporates popular elements in his compositions. "I feel that there must be something in a piece of music that roots it in its own time, something that connects it directly to the listener's lives," says Mr. Raimi.
In his program note for the Clarinet Quartet, he describes his scherzo as "an actual joke with punch line. Since music isn't stand-up comedy, I risk telling the same joke twice, once in the middle of the movement and more elaborately at the end. I give my own instrument, the viola, the good lines. The last movement combines elements of klezmer music (a hard style to resist when a clarinet is at your disposal) with a very American hyperintensity."
Max Raimi's music has been performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and featured on many radio broadcasts. He has probably reached his largest audiences as an arranger; his arrangement of the national anthem was performed before a Chicago White Sox game at Comiskey Park, and a chamber version of that arrangement was performed for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls at Chicago Stadium. Daniel Barenboim will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the first performances of Mr. Raim's Elegy for twelve violas, harp, celesta, and percussion in February 1998.
Violist Miles Hoffman is a familiar figure to Library of Congress audiences, both as a performer and as Artistic Director of the Library's Summer Chamber Festival, which he founded in 1982. He formed the American Chamber Players from a core group of artists from the festival; in collaboration with the Library of Congress, the group recorded music of Mozart, Bruch, Bloch, Stravinsky, Harbison, and Rochberg for a series of compact discs and cassettes distributed internationally on the Koch International Classics label. Mr. Hoffman is nationally recognized as the featured commentator for the Coming to Terms segment of National Public Radio's Performance Today; his book on the subject of musical terms, their meaning and derivation, will be published in fall 1997.