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Article from US 1 – September 2019

Concordia Chamber Players: Experience Exquisite, Rarely Heard Music Exquisite music, some rarely heard, presented in carefully curated programs and presented by renowned musicians in unique, intimate settings: that’s the promise that the Concordia Chamber Players has delivered for more than 20 years. Founded in 1997 in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Concordia prides itself on bringing the world’s best music to the greater Bucks County and Princeton area. Audiences have come to expect and relish witnessing the great masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire, spanning all centuries, performed by a stellar list of guest artists. Founder and artistic director, Michelle Djokic says, “We endeavor to unveil some lesser known gems while presenting compositions we have all come to treasure in a setting that welcomes both the ardent devotee and those who are just embarking on the discovery of all the wealth of witnessing live chamber music. The unique nature of the venues makes our performances destination events. We are known to seek out the opportunity to escape the sterile environment of commercial concert halls to find gems just a short distance from the big cities.” Concordia’s 2019-2020 season is ready to go and will once again deliver an extraordinary experience, including four […]

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Article from The Morning Call – April 2019

The Bucks County-based Concordia Chamber Players close the 2018-2019 season Sunday, April 28 at Trinity Church in Solebury (near New Hope) with a program pairing two works by contemporary composer Andy Akiho with a string quartet by Prokofiev. Featured will be Akiho’s “21” for cello and marimba, his “LIgNEouS” for marimba and string quartet, and Prokofiev’s String Quartet No. 2. Akiho, described by The New York Times as “mold breaking,” and “vital,” is a New York City-based composer and percussionist with a special interest in works for the marimba and steel pans, which he began playing while a student at the University of South Carolina. “21” was inspired by the 21st measure of the Fugue movement of Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 1. It calls for the cellist to also play a kick drum and trigger a looping pedal, joined by the marimba player who has some multitasking of his own in store. Featured are cellist Michelle Djoric, who is also Concordia Chamber Players artistic director, and Ian Rosenbaum on marimba. “LIgNEouS” refers to anything made, consisting of, or resembling wood. “This title was chosen because the marimba, violin, viola, and cello are all primarily made of wood,” says Akiho in

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Miho Saegusa

Concordia Chamber Players to feature works by female composers

Hopefully, not too far in the future, e when women composers will be regarded in the same light as their male colleagues, and not just as in “a league of their own,” to reference the popular 1992 film of that title. Until then, any opportunity a classical music lover gets to hear some great music written by women, however it is presented, should be indulged in. One such program of special merit takes place Sunday at Trinity Church in Solebury, near New Hope. The Bucks County-based Concordia Chamber Players, in their second concert of the season, will feature a program of compositions entirely by women composers spanning three centuries. The program features works by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Amy Beach, and Louise Farrenc. Opening the program is the Piano Quintet by Zwilich, a Florida native who became the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music, and the first woman to be awarded a doctorate in composition from Juilliard, in 1975. Zwilich composed her quintet in 2011 for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, violist Michael Tree, and bassist Harold Robinson. The work shares its instrumentation and the theme of its second movement with Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet, with which it is often

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Princeton Festival Begins With Solid Performance of Concordia Chamber Players

With last Saturday night’s concert by Concordia Chamber Players, this year’s Princeton Festival is off and running. The Concordia ensemble brought only four instrumentalists to this opening concert of Princeton Festival’s 2017 season, but violinist Emily Daggett Smith, violist Ayane Kozasa, cellist Michelle Djokic, and pianist William Wolfram filled Princeton Theological Seminary’s Miller Chapel with a full orchestral-level sound in music both Romantic and contemporary. The string musicians of Concordia Chamber Players began the concert with a tribute to an 18th-century giant by a late 20th-century composer. American composer Aaron Jay Kernis is renowned for his imaginative approach to orchestral color and instrumentation, and his 1991 Mozart En Route (Or, A Little Traveling Music) takes Mozart’s concept for the well-known A Little Night Music to new levels. The opening passages from Ms. Daggett Smith were almost Irish in character, with a driving rhythm from Ms. Kozasa and quick playing from Ms. Djokic. The three players together executed precise and sharp sforzandi and collectively maintained an element of swing throughout the piece. Although in one movement, this work contained several contrasting sections, and the trio of Concordia Players easily shifted among the moods and musical styles. Ms. Daggett Smith and Ms.

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emily daggett smith

Princeton Festival Starts with a Familiar Sound and Group

The Princeton Festival — with 24 events scheduled between Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 25 — is a swirl of opera, musical theater, dance, jazz, baroque music, film, a piano competition, and a Walt Disney concert all taking place in various Princeton venues. Highlights include Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera “Fidelio,” the 1964 Broadway musical “Man of La Mancha,” the Philadelphia-based BalletX contemporary dance company, and numerous more choices made by the festival’s artistic director, Richard Tang Yuk. It’s an abundance of activities compared to the festival’s debut in 2005, which featured four performances of a musical and a concert by the Concordia Chamber Players — the group that has been part of the festival since the beginning and will open it on June 3 at Miller Chapel at the Princeton Theological Seminary. “I have a free hand in programming,” Concordia music director Michelle Djokic says. “But I like to mirror something that (Richard Tang Yuk) has planned. I look out especially for the scheduled opera. This season we’ll be playing Beethoven’s Op. 70 No. 1, the ‘Ghost’ piano trio, because of ‘Fidelio.’” The program performed by cellist Djokic, pianist William Wolfram, violinist Emily Daggett-Smith, and violist Ayane Kozas will

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A classical year: The best, the worst, the squid brains

With the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia going full throttle, the region’s year in classical music was bound to be excellent. And it was, with particularly distinguished activity in the outlying areas involving specialists in music both ancient and modern from Chestnut Hill to Princeton. That doesn’t mean everything worked out. But while lapses and misfires aren’t as satisfying as successes, they can be just as interesting. Pope Francis’ visit, for example . . . Most distracted concert. Though Saturday showed Philadelphia at its best – Center City closed to cars and everybody in a mellow mood – during the Festival of Families concert on the Parkway, soprano prodigy Jackie Evancho sang to an audience that was looking in the opposite direction because the pope was thought to be arriving. And hours later, when the pontiff left, most of the crowd followed, so the Philadelphia Orchestra closed the concert with fire and fireworks that were mostly enjoyed by the cleanup crew. The best and worst of John Eliot Gardiner. The venerable British conductor arrived at Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium in April with a rare performance of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The 1607 opera reached across the centuries in ways that don’t often happen.

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Over The River and Through The Woods: Listening to Chamber Music in Bucolic Bucks County

One of the better-kept musical secrets in Bucks County is the Concordia Chamber Players, which performs in a number of venues near Doylestown and New Hope that are scenically beautiful but can also require a good GPS to find. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns arrived at a recent concert in Solebury, and this is what he found. 
David Patrick Stearns: Any professional musician should be able to perform Vaughan Williams’ great song cycle On Wenlock Edge just as easily in a coal mine as in the lovely Trinity Episcopal Church of Solebury. But for tenor Nicholas Phan, exploring the music’s melancholy undertones was unquestionably enabled by being in the kind of countryside that inspired the British poems that he sings. Nicholas Phan: Today was easier than normal. One of the first times I did this was at the Marlboro Music Festival, but, you know, it’s the middle of the summer, everybody’s partying and Fall is always the season for me where I think, you know, things slow down, it goes darker earlier. You kind of naturally go to those darker places. DPS: However rural the setting, this is hardly the boondocks. The programs are spiced with modern works by Anton Webern, Daron Hagen and Michael

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Review: Phan highlights Concordia Players concert

By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic.  In theory, musicians can inhabit pastoral music just as convincingly in a coal mine as in the late-autumn graciousness of Bucks County. Musical poetry, after all, comes from within. But Sunday’s Vaughan Williams and Elgar program by Concordia Chamber Players (the second in the group’s five-concert season) benefited not only from its setting – Trinity Episcopal Church at a picturesque hilltop crossroad in Solebury – but the sense that the season’s days are numbered. Tenor Nicholas Phan, who has a prestige career in concerts more than in opera, sang Vaughan Williams’ Merciless Beauty and On Wenlock Edge, supported with vibrant synergy from the quintet of Concordia regulars, all conspiring to give extra dimensions to the total effect of the composer’s word settings. Many believe this repertoire wants British performers; the Merciless Beauty texts are attributed to Chaucer and On Wenlock Edge is based on A.E. Housman. But the outsider status of American-born Phan yields objectivity that takes him places British singers don’t think go. His diction is perfect, but not in the well-drilled fashion of, say, Ian Bostridge. The primary intention is communication, not correctness – a great asset in the antiquated Chaucerian

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On Concert I, 2014-15 and Michelle Djokic…

—from The Times of Trenton – November 07, 2014  On Sunday at 3 p.m., Concordia Chamber Players will perform Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21 in D Major, K. 575, and Johannes Brahms’ autumnal masterpiece, the Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115. The concert will feature violinists Emily Daggett Smith and Scott Yoo, violist Milan Milisavljevic, and cellist Michelle Djokic. The clarinetist, Jose Franch-Ballester, will also open the concert with Béla Kovács’ “Hommage à J.S. Bach.” The event will be held at the picturesque Trinity Church in Solebury Township, Bucks County, just past New Hope, Pa. Djokic, who is also artistic director of the group, now resides in the San Francisco Bay area, but she was born in Trenton and returns to the area throughout the year, certainly in connection with her Concordia concerts, and now also because of her involvement with Trenton’s Foundation Academy Intermediate, where she conducts master classes for young musicians. “Last year I was there I think three times,” she says. “This year I’ll be going every time [the Tuesday before each Concordia concert], working with middle school kids and the high school kids. Then on the Sunday, we always make sure as many kids can

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