ECCO, East Coast Chamber Orchestra
“These youthful players are helping form classical music’s future. Long may they ECCO.” The Washington Post
Judd Greenstein, (1979- ), Four on the Floor, 2006
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, (1644-1704), Battalia à 10 in D Major, C.61, (1673)
II. Die liederliche Gesellschaft von allerley Humor
IV. Der Mars
VII. Die Schlacht
VIII. Adagio. Lamento der Verwundten Musquetirer
Francesco Geminiani / Michi Wiancko, (1687-1762) / (1976 – ), “La Follia” Variations for String
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, (1840-1893), Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48, (1880)
I. Pezzo in forma di Sonatina: Andante non troppo – Allegro moderato – Andante non
II. Waltz: Moderato
III. Elégie: Larghetto elegiaco
IV. Finale: (Théma russe): Andante – Allegro con spirit – Molto meno mosso –
Allegro con spirit
**The performance of ECCO has been made possible by a generous grant from Andrea and Guillaume Cuvelier.**
WQXR HOST: Naomi Lewin
WQXR will broadcast every concert in this series live on 105.9 FM and via live stream at www.wqxr.org
In 2001, a group of musicians – colleagues and friends from leading conservatories and music festivals across the country – collectively envisioned the creation of a democratically‐run, self-conducted chamber orchestra that would thrive on the pure joy and camaraderie of classical music making. This organic approach and high level of passion and commitment resulted in ECCO, a dynamic collective that combines the strength and power of a great orchestral ensemble with the personal involvement and sensitivity of superb chamber music.
ECCO is comprised of some of today’s most vibrant and gifted young string players — soloists, chamber musicians, principals of major American orchestras, and GRAMMY award winners. ECCO members play with the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle and Boston among others. Members also play with the Enso, Jasper, Johannes, Jupiter, and Parker Quartets, as well as the Horszowski Trio, Trio Cavatina, Sejong Soloists, Time for Three, and Chamber Music Society II. For a few concentrated periods of time each year, the members of ECCO meet for rehearsal and musical exploration. Cooking, eating, enjoying close friendships and now sharing tips for raising the next generation of ECCO are important aspects of their gatherings. Along with musical exploration, there is always an intense discussion to be had about the joys and challenges of maintaining a truly communal creative organization.
In 2012 ECCO celebrated its first decade of friendship and discovery with the release of its first commercial recording. It includes Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major Op. 48, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a and the exuberant and surprising “La Follia” Variations for String Orchestra, arranged by ECCO’s own Michi Wiancko after Francesco Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso No. 12 in D minor.
ECCO’s 2015-16 season includes the premieres of two commissioned works by composers Christopher Theofanidis and Pierre Jalbert. This season they will make their debuts at the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts in New York’s Central Park and the Nasher Series of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX along with return visits to the Skaneateles Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Peoples’ Symphony Concerts. For more info see: eccorchestra.org
THE NEW YORK TIMES
All Together Now, No Leader Needed
East Coast Chamber Orchestra at Tishman Auditorium
By ZACHARY WOOLFE
MARCH 17, 2014
There is a warm glow to the sound of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a conductorless ensemble made up of members of a variety of American orchestras and quartets.
That tonal radiance was there throughout the wide range of repertory the orchestra played in a concert on Sunday afternoon at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium, from the noble harmonies of Gesualdo’s “Tristis Est Anima Mea” to a Mozart divertimento to work by the players’ contemporaries, including a recent commission, David Ludwig’s “Virtuosity: Five Microconcertos for String Orchestra” (2013). Everything the group touched felt balanced and bright.
The poise of the sound was all the more remarkable given that, of the six works, only Mr. Ludwig’s was composed for string orchestra; the others were heard in generally persuasive arrangements. Only the violinist and composer Michi Wiancko’s version of Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1,” originally for solo piano, seemed to gain clotted textures as it was ramped up for 18 string players.
Without the voices for which it was written, Gesualdo’s music seemed, if anything, overly polished and polite, its dissonances more distant than dangerous. The orchestra played the delicate and gauzy passages beautifully — it was impressive throughout the concert to hear so many people reduce their collective sound to a sliver — but I was left with a muted impression in a work that can terrify.
Most effective were three arrangements of works originally written for string quartet. Mozart’s Divertimento in B flat (K. 137) opened the concert with silky grace. The first movement of Ravel’s String Quartet in F, in the orchestra’s own arrangement, was as gentle and agile as the original, but was also shot through with new thickets of complexity. The meatiness of the group’s sound brought a new savagery to the second movement: Written in 1903, the work began to seem like a premonition of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” from a decade later.
The ingratiating bustle of Judd Greenstein’s quartet “Four on the Floor” (2006) transferred well to this larger group. But it was about as bland as Mr. Ludwig’s “Virtuosity,” which sends a solo part traveling around the orchestra as it alternates benignly between frenetic and relaxed passages.
But there are piquant moments. At one point, cellos and violas whisper underneath a soulful solo cello melody, and neo-Baroque unanimity near the end dissolves into clever snaps, slaps and slides under a stern double bass solo. And the orchestra, as always, played luminously.
Their program includes Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major Op. 48 and the exuberant and surprising “La Follia” Variations for String Orchestra, arranged by ECCO’s own Michi Wiancko after Francesco Geminiani’sConcerto Grosso No. 12 in D minor.
Michi Wiancko, comppser:
Sculpting a diverse musical life for herself as a violinist, composer, arranger, and song-writer, Michi Wiancko has been described in Gramophone magazine as an “alluring soloist with heightened expressive and violinistic gifts.” She made her solo debuts with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, and in 2011 she released an album on Naxos of the virtuosic violin works of Émile Sauret.
As a composer, Michi’s most recent projects include commissions from the Enso String Quartet and Sybarite5. In 2014, Michi’s work was premiered at the Ecstatic Music Festival by the electro-acoustic composer collective, Bright Wave. In November 2015, she will be premiering a new work on the Liquid Music Series in St. Paul, MN.
As an arranger, Michi’s re-composition of Geminiani’s “La Follia” has been performed by orchestras across the country, and recorded by the East Coast Chamber Orchestra on E1 Records. Michi is currently working with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as their “resident arranger,” and creating several substantial works for them over the course of the season. She has also arranged her own works for the Silk Road Ensemble and The Knights.
As a song-writer and singer, Michi has performed her own brand of chamber pop under the name Kono Michi throughout the east coast and the UK. She premiered her critically-acclaimed album, “9 Death Haiku,” at Symphony Space’s Thalia Theater in New York, and The Strad described her sound as “intriguing and exquisitely beautiful…music that breaks through the pop classical barrier.”
Michi started playing the violin at the age of 3. She holds a B.Mus. in performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied with the Donald Weilerstein and Robert Mann, respectively.