Wolf Trap 17-18 Season Overview

It is an honor and privilege to be the 2017/18 season curator for Chamber Music at the Barns.

After considerable thought, I decided to create a season that I would be excited to attend (and attend them I will!). I invited musicians and composers whom I will always want to hear again and again, and have assembled a sensational season of seven concerts.

It will feature the Wolf Trap debuts of cellist Cameron Crozman, the Attacca Quartet, Ifetayo Ali, Hannah White and Xavier Foley (as part of “SphinXtravaganza”), and the celebrated pianist Marc-André Hamelin. With musicians ranging from very young (15-year-old cellist Ifetayo Ali) to rather less young (John Corigliano for his 80th birthday celebration), the thread that will connect and distinguish all seven performances will be the element of traditional folk music.

Long a fervent collector and admirer of music of the people – that love began as a small child begging to play only classical works inspired by mostly Roma traditions – I learned through extensive travelling in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in my teenage years the intrinsic value of this music. As songs and lore change from region to region like accents in a language, they also develop through generations of oral transmission within a community. No culture on earth is lacking this musical custom in some form, which seems to bring truth to the pithy saying that music is the universal language.

Thus my interest, and the inspiration for practically every “art music” composer in history: One person might write a symphony for a thousand, but perhaps a thousand people collectively composed, as it were, the smallest traditional folk melody.

I have asked each performer and ensemble to include a work based on a traditional theme. In the case of clarinetist David Krakauer, who has spent a lifetime researching the nearly lost music of his people, and myself, who have spent a lifetime enthralled with and learning these musical traditions, we will include many such works.

I am very much looking forward to the coming season!

Lara St. John