March 2: Music at Noon puts Strata on the lunchtime music menu

Strata, a trio whose ability to make complex chamber works accessible, exciting and meaningful has earned it enthusiastic repeat engagements at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, New York's historic Maverick Concerts, and the San Francisco Composers series, will perform at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, at noon Wednesday, March 2.

The concert, a production of Music at Noon: The Logan Series, is free and open to the public and will take place in the McGarvey Commons of the Reed Union Building. Free reserved parking will be offered in the Reed lot.

According to the Washington Post, Strata offers audiences “deft ensemble playing” and a “talent … that’s worth getting worked up about.” The trio is Audrey Andrist, piano; Nathan Williams, clarinet; and James Stern, violin and viola; their combined credits include numerous international prizes and performances across four continents, and each has been a resident artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts. As part of the Logan Series, Strata also will perform for students at Erie’s Diehl Elementary School.

In 2009, Strata launched the Metaclassical Music Project to commission new works used to teach active-listening skills. “Art illuminates life, but we need to illuminate art,” explained violinist Stern. “A given piece of music can either be experienced like wallpaper -- something pleasant in the background that sets a tone or atmosphere for whatever it is that actually has your attention -- or it can be in the foreground and it can take your breath away.”

This effort, he added, capitalizes on humans’ intuitive musical ability. “You can get a room full of people to hum the note they think ought to come next. Then show them the note that actually comes next. Both the expected outcome and the actual outcome have moods and meanings associated with them. We draw literary parallels. We point out that the audience’s expectations are a kind of living canvas upon which the composer is painting. Now this music is no longer background -- it’s a vital, vibrant communication that draws the audience in. This is showing people how music works, and I believe people will usually prefer active listening if given a choice.”

Music at Noon, an innovative program to introduce classical music in an informal atmosphere rather than an intimidating concert hall, is celebrating its 21st anniversary season. Founded at Penn State Behrend by Warren philanthropist and arts advocate Kay Logan, the series’ unique musical outreach has been honored with an Adventurous Programming Award by Chamber Music America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The series receives major support from the Kay Logan Trust and additional funding from the Penn State Behrend Student Activity Fee, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts and the Erie Arts Endowment of ArtsErie.

For more information about The Logan Series or Strata’s appearance, contact Gary Viebranz, series coordinator, at 814-898-6289.

 

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Last Updated March 21, 2011