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Premiere for Haverford Composers

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society will premiere two commissioned works by two Haverford composers as part of  its concert series on December 9. The program will feature Associate Professor of Music Ingrid Arauco’s composition Vistas, performed by Philadelphia Orchestra principal flutist Jeffrey Khaner and renowned pianist Charles Abramovic. Abramovic will also play a solo piano piece, Philadelphia Diaries, composed by Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music Curt Cacioppo.

According to Cacioppo, a prolific composer who performed a concert of original works at the American Academy of Rome in October, Philadelphia Diaries evokes five beloved area sites. Along with the Penn Treaty Elm, Boathouse Row and Old Swedes Church, the composition describes Philadelphia’s massive Masonic Temple. “I’m fascinated with the history of the Knights Templar and the origins of Freemasonry,” says Cacioppo.

Another section of the piece, inspired by Haverford’s own Strawbridge Observatory, had an earlier life. A march, it was composed by Cacioppo for Emeritus Professor of Astronomy Bruce Partridge and played at a party in Founders Hall on the occasion of Partridge’s retirement from teaching.

For her composition, Vistas, Arauco found inspiration largely in visual art, in such works as Bauhaus artist Josef Albers’ piece Park and Claude Monet’s tranquil spring scene Landscape: The Parc Monceau. Also evoked in Vistas is Kawase Hasui’s 1931 woodblock print Snow at Shiba Park, which depicts falling snowflakes. “I was intrigued by the combination of energy and tranquility in Hasui’s work, and tried to capture something of this special state in my first movement,” says Arauco, whose works have been performed by the Atlanta Symphony, the Colorado Quartet and Network for New Music.

According to Arauco, Vistas was commissioned through the Anthony P. Checchia Composers Commissioning Project, created with the support of William M. Hollis, Jr. and Andrea M. Baldeck, M.D., who requested a work for flute and piano written  “so that a skilled amateur could play it ... and yet be challenging enough that it could be played by a professional.”

“While I am delighted that Khaner and Abramovic will present the piece, it was not written with them specifically in mind,” says Arauco.  “Rather, I was thinking of Hollis and Baldeck, who play the piano and the flute, respectively.”

The concert, which was made possible through the support of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and the Philadelphia Music Project takes place Thursday, December 9, at 7:30 pm in Presser Hall of the Settlement Music School, 416 Queen Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $16.50. A panel discussion with the composers starts off the program.

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Prof. Anita Isaacs (Political Science) and students cross Founders Green after class.

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