Chamber Music in Santa Fe & CMS National Conference

This past weekend, I visited Santa Fe, NM for the first time for a concert with enhake as well as our performance/presentation at the College Music Society's National Conference. The town was truly beautiful, and the wonderful weather only made the trip even more pleasant. There were many elements of challenges, however, as it was our first time flying with our 5-month old daughter. Fortunately, she was an incredible baby all throughout, and we were able to survive some pretty hectic schedule. 

New Mexico Museum of the Art

CMS Conference Performance at St. Francis Auditorium at the Museum

Post Concert Picture with enhake

As a part of our presentation on Thursday, I performed enhake a program entitled "Mixed Quartet inspired by the American Southwest." It featured three compositions: Gulfstream by Peter Lieuwen, Red Vesper by David Biedenbender, and Rodeo Queen of Heaven by Libby Larsen. 

Another great perk about this trip was getting to hang out with my wonderful colleagues and friends. enhake boasts an increasingly growing family, and it was very special to see our babies all gathered together! We enjoyed some great sight-seeing, fine dining experience, and many shops all over the downtown. Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was particularly impressive with its interesting history, many notable relics, etc.  

enhake family getting things together after a lunch

What a surprise to find this plaque at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Our evening recital at the Southwest Arts was quite satisfying, and we were thrilled to have Peter Lieuwen and David Biedenbender attend our concert. 

Post recital picture of enhake with David and Peter

[From the Past] Interview with Libby Larsen

enhake with Libby Larsen, Tallahassee, FL (2010) 

Here is an interview I did with members of enhake and Libby Larsen for WFSQ 91.5FM in Tallahassee, FL in 2010. We discuss the creative process of commissioning and our collaborative endeavor on a piece Ms. Larsen wrote for our ensemble, Rodeo Queen of Heaven (2010). We later premiered the work at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and performed the work in many important festivals and venues. We also recorded the work for Naxos, which was later selected as "Music US Choice" by BBC Music Magazine and MusicWeb International among other. The work was also the topic for my doctoral treatise entitled "Rodeo Queen Of Heaven (2010): Libby Larsen's Fusion Of Chants And Clarinet's Unique American Voice." 

[Press Clipping] Enhake Quartet at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall

An article from New York Concert Review published on May 3, 2010

ENHAKE QUARTET by David LaMarche


MAY 3, 2010

An evening of works by five living composers was presented by the Enhake Quartet from Florida State University on May 3rd. The members of this foursome, all impressive soloists and adept chamber musicians, made strong cases for each of the compositions on this program. One of the defining characteristics of the Enhake is rock-solid rhythmic integrity which was evident from the start of “Breakdown Tango” by the composer John Mackey. Propelled by the violinist M. Brent Williams’ driving sixteenth note ostinato, each of the other players added a layer of complexity until the grand climax gives way to a lonely habanera solo on cello. Throughout the tango, clarinetist Wonkak Kim wove his sultry, stylized melodies into the fabric. Much of this piece feels as though it has quotation marks around it, yet in spite of that, it is well crafted and benefited from precise ensemble.

Two movements of Kris Maloy’s “Quartet in Four Actions” entitled “Slink” and “Float” further proved the quartet’s strengths in balance, intonation, and musicality. The simple arc of “Slink”, with its slowly blossoming minor third motive, was beautifully paced and modulated. At the outset of “Float”, cellist Jayoung Kim spun a legato line of great elegance, the initial voice in an expansively lyrical canon. As the music spiraled downward in dynamic and pulse, the players handled their challenges with poise.

Libby Larsen’s “Rodeo Queen of Heaven” proved to be the most harmonically adventurous composition in a decidedly conservative program. It commenced with a burst of activity. As the pianist Eun Hee Park held a tenacious pedal note, her colleagues embarked upon an almost improvisational extended fantasia. Ms. Larsen asks the performers of this piece to extend the boundaries of traditional technique, and Enhake is ideally suited to the task. This was a polished, yet spontaneous performance.

Peter Lieuwen’s “Gulfstream”, which opened the second half, was quite obviously programmatic in its deft evocation of the swirling waters of that grand body of water. Again, Eun Hee Park provided a solid foundation of fluent pianism, at times industrious, and then gently undulating. Along the way, Mr. Kim showed his impressive range in a quasi cadenza-like solo for clarinet. This was not an ambitious work, but well structured and idiomatic in its writing.

For sheer enjoyment, it would be hard to beat Peter Schickele’s “Quartet in A” as a program finale. In four clearly defined movements, the composer employs elements of French salon music, American jazz, and Eastern European folk dance, complete with off-kilter meter changes. Mr. Schickele knows how to feature his musicians, providing them with meaty, virtuosic rifts, and intuitively musical passages which just seem fun to play.

I look forward to hearing Enhake again soon, and by then I hope they will have been able to commission an even greater range of works for their growing repertory. They are excellent artists and technicians who present thoroughly prepared performances.