published Friday, April 13th, 2012

String Theory ends its third season

Gloria Chien has been waiting three years for this one.

Thursday, Chien, in partnership with Lee University and the Hunter Museum of American Art, will welcome eight talented musicians, all of whom, she said, are also dear friends, to close out the third season of chamber music series String Theory.

Featured are violinists Erin Keefe, Meg Freivogel McDonough, Kristopher Tong, Sean Lee and Sun-Mi Chang; violist Maiya Papach; and cellists Daniel McDonough and Raman Ramakrishnan

It's a program she's been wanting to coordinate since String Theory's conception in 2009.

"It's unbelievable. This season has been really spectacular," she said. "All around, it's been a really wonderful program. I'm grateful how the Hunter community has embraced the series."

Katrina Craven, public relations director for the Hunter, shares Chien's enthusiasm.

"It's really given people a new way to enjoy the museum," she said. "There's that beautiful space, and then you think about experiencing a chamber music concert there. People say over and over that they enjoy that so much, the totality of the experience, these amazing world-class musicians in that glorious space."

String Theory has benefited Chien's students at Lee University as well as the greater Chattanooga community. At each concert, the associate professor of music said, several students have had the opportunity to work as volunteers. Some events have offered the opportunity for performers to give masterclasses at the university.

Craven said she's enjoyed the opportunity to meet some "amazing musicians."

"I think sometimes people have a specific idea of classically trained musicians, that they would be very buttoned up. These folks are very fun. They have a great passion for what they do, but they also have a lot of fun doing it."

This final performance will feature guest speaker Patrick Castillo leading a dialogue about the pieces in the program.

The concert will begin with Dmitri Shostakovich's Prelude and Scherzo for Octet, Op. 11, a piece that "really keeps you on the edge of your seat," Chien said. "It's only 11 or 12 minutes long, but for that entire time, you're going to be on your toes."

Next will be a performance of Antonin Dvorak's Terzetto in C Major, Op. 74, which accords with the composer's signature folk sound and is "a really, really sweet piece" that will contrast the Shostakovich well, Chien said. "The Dvorak is one of the most gorgeous pieces."

The final piece is Felix Mendelssohn's Octet in E-Flat Major, Op. 20. Chien called it one of her favorites. "It's one of the most joyous, pieces of music ever written." It is a perfect way to end the season.

Contact Holly Leber at hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber. Subscribe to her on Facebook at facebook.com/holly.j.leber.

IF YOU GO

* What: String Theory.

* When: 6 p.m. Thursday.

* Where: Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View.

* Admission: $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

* Phone: 267-0968.

* Websites: www.huntermuseum.org, www.stringtheorymusic.org.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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