Grammy-nominated ALIAS continues 2012-2013 season with a new World Premiere and two wildly different string quartets

After more than 10 years of championing new music and performing over a dozen World Premieres, ALIAS Chamber Ensemble is unveiling yet another new work at its Winter concert on February 16, at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music in Turner Hall: “The Sonata for Oboe and Piano” by composer John Marvin. The piece will be performed by Roger Wiesmeyer, ALIAS’ multi-instrumentalist, who also plays English horn for the Nashville Symphony. (See below for a one-on-one interview with Roger about his upcoming performance.)

Marvin describes the piece as a showcase for both piano and oboe, including smooth, ascending chromatic chords, which will be a “signature” motive for the piano, appearing throughout the Sonata in various forms.

“My intent was to write an oboe sonata in which the piano played a role as important as the ‘solo’ instrument, providing not merely an accompaniment, but contributing to the thematic and structural development of the piece.” – John Marvin

The Winter concert will also feature two string quartets, by Johannes Brahms and John Zorn, each written over 100 years apart. According to ALIAS artist director Zeneba Bowers, putting these two string quartets in the same program shows the versatility of a combination of instruments. The Brahams piece, his first, is considered of the great monuments of the quartet genre. The Zorn, titled “Cat o’Nine Tails”, is an ever-changing energetic romp, according to Bowers.

“Brahm’s music is lush and romantic; the Zorn is schizophrenic, very reminiscent of Carl Stalling’s cartoon music. The range of character on display in both pieces is astounding.” –Zeneba Bowers

Bowers will also perform Henry Cowell’s “Homage to Iran”. She, along with Wiesmeyer (on piano) and percussionist magus Chris Norton, played the Persian-inspired work at ALIAS’ debut concert 11 years ago.

Proceeds from the February 16th concert will go to Park Center. ALIAS donates 100% of the proceeds from all of its Blair performances to nonprofit partners, like Park Center – no strings attached. Park Center opened its doors in 1984 as a 501c3, nonprofit agency for adults in Middle Tennessee diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness. In 2009, the center celebrated its 25th anniversary of serving individuals with mental illness in the Nashville community.