Newly formed Fredericton string quartet will make their public debut December 13 at Gallery 78.
Like the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s part of the reason members of the Elm City String Quartet chose to make their public debut in a tightly packed room surrounded by friends, music lovers and some beautiful artwork.
“Our first concert is called Beginnings,” explains the group in a statement announcing the show. “It’s our first official concert, and we wanted to present it in the way quartet music was originally played: Mozart and Mendelssohn in a small room, close enough to have a conversation with the audience.”
The group’s founding members, Victor Vivas (violin), Mercedes Salazar (violin), Mark Kleyn (viola), and Emily Kennedy (cello), have all played together in various larger ensembles and bring together an impressive range of musical backgrounds.
Vivas and Salazr are both accomplished performers and teachers from Venezuela. They are currently based in Fredericton and teach with the Sistema program.
Cellist Emily Kennedy is one of the city’s most active musical collaborators, lending her skill and the voice of her instrument to various projects that range from electronic breakbeat to blues rock. Kennedy formed the neo-classical duo Pallmer with violist Mark Kleyn in 2018 and have since released two EPs.
“We were all looking for a kind of regular chamber music addition to our lives,” said the group. “So, we met on a few weekend afternoons for coffee and chamber music. We knew things were gelling well, so we decided to go forward with the group. We named the ensemble after Fredericton’s historic nickname, Elm City.”
It’s been many years since Fredericton has had a string quartet to call its own. Probably the most notable string ensemble to come out of the city was the Brunswick String Quartet that was based at UNB and existed for nineteen years.
In an interesting twist of fate, Brunswick String Quartet co-founder, violist James Pataki, also co-founded the gallery where Elm City String Quartet will perform their first concert.
“We created the project to have an opportunity to explore the treasure trove of string quartet music, and to create interesting concerts for the community,” they said. “We’re pretty well-balanced in our tastes. Some of us love the classics, and others of us have contemporary tendencies. We’re eager to try out a lot of ideas.”