ALIAS Winter Concert and World Premiere Receives Rave Reviews

According to classical music critic John Pitcher, ALIAS is continuing its tradition of introducing innovative music repertoire with yet another World Premiere. Sonata for Oboe and Piano was featured at the ensemble’s Winter concert, held February 16th at Vanderbilt’s Blair Turner Recital Hall. (Read Pitcher’s full review in ArtsNash: “Classical review: From world premieres to cartoon music, Alias plays it all,” at ArtsNash.

Pitcher, along with an almost full house, applauded the exceptional performance of Sonata for Oboe and Piano. West Coast composer John Marvin created the sonata for ALIAS oboist Roger Wiesmeyer, who presented the work with pianist Arunesh Nadgir.

“Wiesmeyer played with a sure technique and a beautifully reedy tone. His phrasing was gorgeous, and his sense of the work’s structure was absolute. Nadgir, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, was perhaps more impressive, if for no other reason than his part seemed to be harder. Marvin’s piano writing was full of difficult right-hand patterns and runs. Nadgir played all of it with polished perfection.”

Pitcher also lauded ALIAS violinists Alison Gooding and Jessica Blackwell, violist Christ Farrell and cellist Christopher Stenstrom, for their lively rendition of the Brahms String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51.

“They focused on the lyrical side of Brahms, playing with immediacy, clarity and an expertly blended sound.”

ALIAS also gave its first-ever performance of the technically-challenging and sometimes “cartoonish” string quartet Cat o’ Nine Tails by New York City experimental composer John Zorn. The piece featured an eclectic blend of avant-garde music with cartoon-like themes. Each movement elicited some laughter from the enthusiastic audience and ended with a thunderous round of applause.

And for the first time since its debut concert in 2002, ALIAS performed Henry Cowell’s Homage to Iran, with Roger Wiesmeyer – this time playing piano, along with percussionist Christopher Norton. According to Pitcher, the piece was an “Enchanting rendition that tied ALIAS’s present to its past while bringing its program full circle.”

ALIAS raised over $1600 in ticket sales for the concert’s non-profit partner, Park Center. ALIAS donates 100% of the proceeds from its Blair concerts to its nonprofit partners – no strings attached.