Da Capo's commitment to diversity
The Da Capo Chamber Players has been hailed by The New Yorker: “Flaunting its versatility, this esteemed new music group covers an impressive range of idioms and styles . . .” (June 2018). Winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award early in its trajectory (1973), the ensemble is now in its 49th season. It is a five-member "Pierrot" ensemble (flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano). The internationally acclaimed group has worked closely with today's most respected composers, building a heritage of present-day American chamber music, and takes particular pride in the wide spectrum of styles it champions.
A number of our programs exemplify our pursuit of the goal of equity. Selected examples, over the years include:
January 29, 2013, at Merkin Concert Hall, Da Capo performed a program titled Honoring Black History, with works by Wendell Logan, *Jeffrey Mumford, Valerie Coleman, Nkieru Okoye, and Alvin Singleton. It received a rave review.
March 15, 2015, at the DiMenna Center, a program titled Da Capo’s Sun Music offered works by composers from the Caribbean, Mexico, and Argentina: *Martín Gendelman, Gabriela Ortiz, Jorge Martín, Paquito D’Rivera, and Eleanor Alberga.
February 13, 2017, at Merkin Concert Hall, we offered Honoring African-American Composers, with works by David Sanford, Jeff Scott, Kenneth Amis, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Carman Moore. This program was repeated March 12, 2018, at Lehman College, Bronx, NY.
June 5, 2019, at Merkin Concert Hall, we presented Global American Chamber Music, exploring and demonstrating the enormous contributions of “global” American composers: Chou Wen-chung (China), Reinaldo Moya (Venezuela), *Chinary Ung (Cambodia), Pablo Ortiz (Argentina), *Noel Da Costa (Jamaican/Nigerian), and Gabriela Lena Frank (Peruvian/Chinese/Lithuanian/Jewish). All are Americans.
February 12, 2020, at Merkin Hall, we will invite listeners to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday with Remembering George Walker, a program featuring works by two African-American masters, George Walker and Wendell Logan.
*Written for the Da Capo Chamber Players
In addition to these programs specifically dedicated to the diversity theme, the pieces above and others are included in mixed repertoire programs both in NYC and out-of-town.
The Da Capo Chamber Players' annual New York series has been praised for "superb" and "gripping" performances. Groundbreaking programs have included premieres by Elliott Carter, George Perle, Louis Karchin (American Visions, setting of poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, with the poet as guest reader), Joan Tower, Shulamit Ran, Chinary Ung, and countless others. The five ensemble members bring years of creative insight, involvement and artistic vision to our work and performances of today's repertoire, including over 150 works written especially for the group. Adventuresome programs with electronic sounds, works by young composers, collaborations with choreographers— all have sparked the imagination of listeners. Our celebration of the centenary of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (in 2013, with Lucy Shelton) received a standing ovation at Merkin Concert Hall, and again at New Music New College in Sarasota, FL, in 2016.
In 2010, NPR named the ensemble's recording, Chamber Music of Chinary Ung (Bridge Records), as one of the five Best Contemporary Classical CDs of the Year.
Educational outreach has always been and continues to be a vital part of our work. The ensemble shares its love and commitment to this important repertoire with next generation artists through its ongoing residency at Bard College and touring engagements that feature masterclasses, student composer readings and performances.