The Apollo Chamber Gamers discover success programming music to world occasions : NPR


The Apollo Chamber Gamers create concert events in response to ebook banning, the refugee disaster, the warfare in Gaza and different world occasions. The members of the Houston based mostly ensemble are Matthew Dudzik, left, Aria Cheregosha, Matthew J. Detrick and Anabel Ramírez.

Lynn Lane/The Apollo Chamber Gamers


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Lynn Lane/The Apollo Chamber Gamers


The Apollo Chamber Gamers create concert events in response to ebook banning, the refugee disaster, the warfare in Gaza and different world occasions. The members of the Houston based mostly ensemble are Matthew Dudzik, left, Aria Cheregosha, Matthew J. Detrick and Anabel Ramírez.

Lynn Lane/The Apollo Chamber Gamers

Chamber music as an artwork type dates again to the late 1700s which presents an issue for a younger, dynamic ensemble: the right way to make chamber music really feel much less, nicely, fusty?

The Apollo Chamber Gamers, in Houston, Texas, consider that classical music should have interaction with right this moment’s points, concepts and issues. It organized its present season, referred to as “Silenced Voices,” round censorship. Every musical piece is a response to Texas’s standing as one of many states with probably the most banned books within the nation.

“Via our programming, we have tackled different tough topics just like the refugee disaster,” mentioned ensemble co-founder and violinist Matthew J. Detrick. “I actually do assume that going at controversial topics, if you’ll, with an angle of musical compassion, can hopefully open the doorways to folks listening to one another.”

Due to the ensemble’s small measurement, he added, the group may be nimble. When warfare broke out in Gaza in October, the Apollo Chamber Gamers adjusted an already-planned annual winter vacation live performance program, presenting and commissioning new classical music by Israeli American and Palestinian American composers. Sadly, Detrick famous, it match proper into the season’s present theme of silencing voices.

“Battle and warfare and genocide is the final word type of censorship, and that is testing the boundaries of free speech in many various methods,” he mentioned.

One latest live performance addressing censorship included two string quartets by Aaron Copeland. The revered American composer was pressured to testify earlier than the Home Un-American Actions Committee in 1953. The Apollo Chamber Gamers paired his work with a brand new fee by composer and performer Allison Loggins-Hull. Impressed by up to date Texas controversies over ebook banning, her rating consists of the sounds of books banging shut, in addition to the musicians whispering “Shhh!”

Allison Loggins-Hull performs on the earth premiere of her work “BAN” with the Apollo Chamber Gamers

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Loggins-Hull advised NPR she hadn’t been acquainted with the Apollo Chamber Gamers earlier than the fee, however she was thrilled to work with the group, particularly as soon as she realized about its mission. “Particularly to see an ensemble that’s rooted in classical music and likewise based mostly within the South, fairly actually,” she mentioned. She appreciated “working with artists who wish to reply to the instances, who wish to convey consideration and consciousness to the world that is round them.”

The Apollo Chamber Gamers pose earlier than their fall live performance, “Banned” in Houston with a visitor instrument — a stomp field — and composer and performer Allison Loggins-Hull.

Lynn Lane /Apollo Chamber Gamers


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Lynn Lane /Apollo Chamber Gamers


The Apollo Chamber Gamers pose earlier than their fall live performance, “Banned” in Houston with a visitor instrument — a stomp field — and composer and performer Allison Loggins-Hull.

Lynn Lane /Apollo Chamber Gamers

When the Apollo Chamber Gamers first began, in 2008, only some dozen folks attended its concert events. Thanks largely to a nonprofit incubator program run by the Houston Arts Alliance, the ensemble now averages 30,000 attendees a yr for its stay performances. Most of them are free. Over the previous 15 years, it is launched half a dozen albums and commissioned almost 50 new works, together with items this season by DJ Spooky and by interdisciplinary artist Muyassar Kurdi. Her work, A Lullaby for the Kids of the Solar calls consideration to Israel’s assaults on Palestinian civilians, which have left hundreds of kids lifeless, traumatized and injured.

An excerpt of interdisciplinary artist Muyassar Kurdi’s graphic rating for A Lullaby for the Kids of the Solar.

Apollo Chamber Gamers


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Apollo Chamber Gamers


An excerpt of interdisciplinary artist Muyassar Kurdi’s graphic rating for A Lullaby for the Kids of the Solar.

Apollo Chamber Gamers

“What was attention-grabbing abut this work was that it got here to us in a graphic rating,” Detrick mentioned. “We had by no means tackled something prefer it, so it was a studying expertise for us as nicely. We determined every of us within the quartet would begin with a special a part of the drawing and sort out it in our personal approach.”

The Apollo Chamber Gamers musicians, who additionally embrace violinist Anabel Ramírez, violist Aria Cheregosha and cellist Matthew Dudzik, interpreted the drawing with hums evoking drones and audio results that sound like planes flying overhead. “Generally we got here collectively, generally we had been aside, but it surely was a journey for certain, ” Detrick mentioned.

He stays satisfied, he mentioned, that bridging music with politics will assist bridge folks as nicely.

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Edited for radio and the online by Rose Friedman, produced for the online by Beth Novey.

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