Adaskin String Trio to Perform Golijov’s ‘Isaac the Blind’ at Yiddish Book Center

Pascal Archer

Pascal Archer

(AMHERST, Mass.) – The Adaskin String Trio, with clarinetist Pascal Archer and violinist Annie Trepanier, will perform Grammy Award-winning composer Osvaldo Golijov’s landmark 1994 composition, “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind,” and a piece by Mozart, at the Yiddish Book Center on Sunday, November 22, 2015, at 2pm.

Golijov’s work, recorded by the Kronos Quartet with David Krakauer in 1997, was inspired by the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak Saggi Nehor (also known as Isaac the Blind), a great Kabbalist in 12th– and 13th-century Provence who asserted that all things and events in the universe are products of combinations of the Hebrew alphabet’s letters.

The 33-minute work is presented in three movements, each stylistically inspired by one of the three main historical Jewish languages — Aramaic, Yiddish, and Hebrew — plus a prelude and postlude. The third, “Hebrew” movement is in fact an instrumental setting of a vocal work, “K’vakarat,” that Golijov composed for cantor and string quartet using the text of a prayer from Yom Kippur.

In addition, the program includes Mozart’s quintet for clarinet and strings. Both pieces will be preceded by an introductory talk by composer Zeke Hecker.

Hailed by the New York Times as “outstanding clarinetist,” Pascal Archer leads an active career as a performer and teacher. He is the founder and artistic director of Exponential Ensemble, a mixed chamber music ensemble creating music and math educational programs. He is currently Principal Clarinet and board member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and a former member of the New World Symphony.

He has recently collaborated with the JACK and St. Lawrence String Quartets, New York Wind Soloists, Adaskin String Trio and toured with Musicians from Marlboro.  He has performed at renowned festivals such as Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Monadnock, Verbier Orchestra, Spoleto USA and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony where he performed under the baton of James Levine, Charles Dutoit and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Archer is on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, the Hunter College (CUNY), Fordham University and the New York Summer Music Festival.  Originally from Quebec, Canada, Mr. Archer holds a degrees from the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, Université de Montréal (BM), Indiana University  and a Masters in orchestral performance from the Manhattan School of Music.  His former teachers include Jean Laurendeau, André Moisan, Eli Eban and Mark Nuccio.


Annie Trepanier (photo Susan Wilson)

Annie Trepanier (photo Susan Wilson)

Violinist Annie Trépanier’s playing has been hailed by the Boston Globe as “supercharged, clear-headed, yet soulful.” She is a founding member of the acclaimed Avery Ensemble and has performed throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Her recent Avery Ensemble CD of piano quartets by Mahler, Schnittke and Brahms was an obvious favorite of one reviewer: “gorgeous… the performers clearly have passionate feelings about what they are playing. This is what loving music is all about.” She has been heard regularly in national broadcasts on Radio-Canada, CBC and NPR and has recorded for the CRI, New World, Ongaku, & Zephyr labels. She is a former member of the New World Trio and the Diabelli String Quartet and has appeared as a guest with such ensembles as the Copenhagen and Adaskin String Trios. She studied with Denise Lupien, Claude Richard, Teri Einfeldt, Philip Setzer, and Pamela Frank and holds degrees from McGill University, the University of Ottawa and The Hartt School. In addition, she studied chamber music with members of the Orion, Emerson, Cleveland and Orford String Quartets. Trépanier is on the faculty of The Hotchkiss School and also performs and teaches each summer at the Wintergreen Festival in Virginia.
The Adaskin String Trio has won over audiences internationally with exuberant and stirring performances. Their playing has been hailed for “vigor, precision and stylistic certitude” (Charleston Gazette) as well as “spontaneity, intensity and charm” (Peninsula Review) and the Boston Globe praised them for “directing the listener to the heart of the matter.” Formed in 1994, the trio performs extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and has appeared at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and in Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara and Chicago. In addition, the trio’s concerts have been regularly recorded for broadcast by CBC Radio, Radio-Canada, and National Public Radio.

The members of the trio are violinist Ellyn Ngai, violist Steve Larson, and cellist Mark Fraser.

Adaskin String Trio (photo Susan Wilson)

Adaskin String Trio (photo Susan Wilson)

This dynamic ensemble commands a large string trio repertoire ranging from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven to Dohnanyi, Rozsa, Villa-Lobos, Schnittke, and composers of today including commissioned works by Murray Adaskin, Robert Carl and David Macbride among others. In addition, the trio enjoys collaborations of the highest level with various artists. The trio and pianist Sally Pinkas have established themselves as powerful interpreters of numerous masterpieces from the piano quartet literature. Other collaborators have included oboist Thomas Gallant, guitarist Eliot Fisk, bassist Robert Black, and accordion virtuoso Joseph Petric with whom they commissioned Raymond Luedeke to write a spectacular new work entitled Tango Dreams.

The trio’s recordings include the complete Beethoven String Trios on Musica Omnia which won critical acclaim in American Record Guide – “Highly desirable…strongly recommended” and Gramophone – “Superb playing… a flexible command of flow and phrase with instrumental power and eloquence and a nutty tonal richness. …the Trio savours the sensuality of Beethoven’s string writing and the intoxicating profusion of tunes while plumbing the emotional depths that lie beneath.” In 2008 MSR Classics released a recording of the Adaskin String Trio and pianist Sally Pinkas performing the two piano quartets of Gabriel Fauré.

Although the Adaskin String Trio is currently based in New England, the members of the trio are all originally from Canada. They met in Montreal where they each studied chamber music with founding Orford Quartet cellist Marcel Saint-Cyr. They later completed two years as ensemble-in-residence at The Hartt School under the guidance of the Emerson Quartet. The trio is named in honor of Murray Adaskin, one of Canada’s most loved and respected composers, and two of his brothers, violinist Harry Adaskin and producer and music educator John Adaskin.

This event is presented by Mohawk Trail Concerts in collaboration with the Yiddish Book Center.




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