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Leonore Overture

collects the music and arts criticism of Keith Powers

Lighthouse Chamber Players revitalize, enhance season

 Elizabeth Chang (violin) leads the Lighthouse Chamber Players.

Elizabeth Chang (violin) leads the Lighthouse Chamber Players.

A brand-new chamber music series has come to Cape Cod. It’s 24 years old.

The Lighthouse Chamber Players first performed in 1995, organizing a fundraiser to support the Nauset Light Preservation Society. Since then, the ensemble – led by violinist Elizabeth Chang – has hosted more than 150 concerts and outreach programs, mostly in the summer months.

But upcoming concerts – Sunday in Provincetown, and Sept. 9 in Wellfleet – signal the beginning of a new era for the chamber group.

“It’s my firm belief that more is better, when it comes to music,” Chang says. “So this is the beginning of that effort. We want to be part of the artistic life of the Cape, especially in the off-season.”

The concerts will serve as trials for the Lighthouse Chamber Players. “We’ll be listening to our audience, to see what works for them,” Chang says. “Our growth will happen organically. Our core audience is from Orleans to Provincetown.

“We haven’t traveled that far afield, but we’d be happy to. We’ll see what this new rhythm is like for audiences, and expand from there.”

Two different programs are planned for the concerts. In Provincetown, Chang will be joined by violist Nardo Poy and pianist Alissa Leiser – “the three of us make up the core of the group,” Chang says – and clarinetist Romie de Guise-Langlois. Repertory includes Mozart’s Kegelstatt trio, a Mendelssohn violin sonata, and Stravinsky’s suite from “L’Histoire du Soldat.”

De Guise-Langlois – an accomplished chamber musician, who currently performs with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two, among many other ensembles – is just one of the distinguished guests that Chang has engaged for the performances.

Javier Gandara (horn) and Alberto Parrini (cello) will join the core trio for the Wellfleet program, which includes the Mozart Divertimento for string trio, the great Brahms horn trio and Frederic Rzewski’s antic “Spots” (“They’re mock advertising spots that Rzewski wrote, really short,” Chang says. “And they’re written for four instruments, any kind.”)

Gandara holds a horn chair in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, one of the most esteemed and hardest working orchestras in the world. Parrini, a graduate of the Curtis Institute and Juilliard, has also performed widely as a chamber and orchestral musician.

“We are inviting different combinations of musicians to join us,” Chang says. “Our programming is based on piano and strings, but there is so much great music. We want everyone to step out of our comfort zone. And I think audiences appreciate new music – the people who have come to our concerts are listeners who want to be pushed.

“We used to do quite a few outreach, educational programs back in the day,” Chang says. “One thing we dropped were family concerts in Wellfleet, and that’s too bad. We did outreach to adult day camps, and senior centers. We’d like to nurture those relationships again, and provide some educational outreach to the community.”

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