Chamber music

Nine classical string musicians from the U.S. and Canada convene this week at the Antelope Trails Ranch north of town for Jackson Hole Chamber Music, three evenings of works by Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Haydn.

Beginning Tuesday, Jackson Hole Chamber Music will present three evening recitals featuring small ensembles — duos, trios, quartets, a quintet and a sextet — and, mostly, repertoire from core classical composers.

This year’s series is the fourth for JH Chamber Music — it would have been the fifth if not for the coronavirus pandemic — and organizers seem bent on hosting concerts as close to normal as possible. While that means mandatory vaccines for all musicians and audience members as well as masking, the three evening programs are set for the spacious guest house at Antelope Trails Ranch north of Jackson.

“We’re deeply hopeful that those who come, who are vaccinated and OK to masking up, will come and experience it the way it’s supposed to be experienced,” said violinist Jennifer Ross, a founder and board member of the nonprofit series. “We’ve limited seats to around 50 instead of 80, and our protocols include opening up the space to ventilate to the outdoors.”

For those who don’t feel comfortable joining so many others in an indoor setting, the series will for the first time livestream all three performances for free, though donations are encouraged. For tickets and details about the concerts, visit JHChamberMusic.org.

“We’ve got a slightly smaller group,” Ross said, just nine string players as opposed to the dozen to 15 string, brass, wind and piano players featured in past seasons.

“I was tallying how many works each person would play,” Ross said. “Everyone is going to be working very hard, and I think — I know — as a musician, when you get the opportunity to play with people you just want to immerse yourself in it. Especially now, it is so the right thing, making music … more right than it ever has been.”

The first program Tuesday starts with Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat Major and ends with Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 3 in D. Major. In between a string quartet will perform Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla’s six-movement “Tango Ballet.”

On Friday, the lineup is Mozart’s String Quartet No. 17, nicknamed “The Hunt,” and Brahms’ String Quintet No. 2, with “Entr’acte” for string quartet by American composer Caroline Shaw, the youngest recipient to ever win a Pulitzer Prize for music, in the middle.

Sunday’s program will begin with Haydn’s Opus 76, No. 4 quartet, called “Sunrise,” and wraps up with Schoenberg’s dramatic “Verklarte Nacht,” or “Transfigured Night” for string sextet, with a work by another American, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s “Five Fantasiestucke,” in the middle.

Contact Richard Anderson at 732-7078 or rich@jhnewsandguide.com.

Since moving to Jackson Hole in 1992, Richard has covered everything from local government and criminal justice to sports and features. He currently concentrates on arts and entertainment, heading up the Scene section.

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