published Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Vocal-viola duo open String Theory season

IF YOU GO

What: String Theory.

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

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

Admission: $35.

Phone: 267-0968.

Website: www.stringtheorymusic.org

String Theory opens its fourth season at the Hunter Museum of American Art on Thursday.

A chamber-music series created in 2009 by pianist and Lee University music professor Gloria Chien, String Theory has become a part of the cultural landscape of Chattanooga.

"I want to take (audiences) on a journey," Chien said. "I hope they keep an open mind, and I think they will be surprised. All their senses will be inspired."

The first concert of the season will boast another first -- the appearance of mezzo-soprano Jazimina McNeil. No String Theory performance has featured a vocalist before. MacNeil will be joined by violist Roberto Diaz, president and CEO of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Diaz was nominated for a Grammy Award for his 2006 recording of viola transcriptions by William Primrose.

"It's not every day you hear a viola recital," Chien said. "Roberto is exceptional. The combination of him with a mezzo-soprano is unique."

MacNeil will join Diaz in performing Johannes Brahms' Opus 91: "Gestillte Sensucht," or "Stilled Longing."

"They are gorgeous, and I've always wanted to do them," said Chien of the two parts of Brahms' composition. "Those are amazing. They're little, but they're so beautiful."

The music of Brahms will be featured on several occasions during String Theory's season. In January, a Brahms quintet will be performed, and in March, his first sonata.

"I feel a deep connection with Brahms," said Chien, who will play piano in all three performances, as well as others during the season.

On Thursday, Diaz will also perform Ernest Bloch's Suite 1919.

"This season we have many different combinations," said Chien. "It's nice to start the season with the classics. ... We try to bring the highest artistic excellence and introduce the audience to more musicians and more great music."

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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