The Quintet of the Americas is proud to be presenting Memory Project, three Queens concerts on June 11 at the Salvation Army Temple in Jackson Heights, June 12 at Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center and on June 14 at Langston Hughes Library and Cultural Center in Corona. All three concerts are part of our Memory Project, three commissions based on interviews by New York composers with seniors at these three senior centers in Queens.
We received a Chamber Music America Residency grant for project activities, and it was launched in the Fall of 2012.
The pieces composed for the project are Carl MaultsBy’s Abuelas, Nanas and Grandmamas Unsung, created during his work with seniors at Elm-Cor Senior Center, Music for Bayside by Lembit Beecher who worked with seniors at Bayside Senior Center and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin’s Lullaby & Memory, the product of his time with seniors at the Salvation Army in Jackson Heights.
Composer Carl MaultsBy has said about Abuelas, Nanas and Grandmamas Unsung, “The stories of the residents of Elm-Cor had a similar thread: they weren’t always “grandmothers.” They had mothers, they had children, they had lives, but most of all they had faith… The main themes of “Abuelas, Nanas and Grandmamas Unsung” are metric transformations of melodies suggested by the seniors, in particular, “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” The third section actually quotes the hymn tune “Martyrdom” composed in either the late 18th or early 19th century by Hugh Wilson.”
Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin’s has written about his piece, Lullaby & Memory, “Spending time at the Salvation Army Center, listening to the stories of the Ladies there, made me feel wholly at home – any one of these ladies could’ve been my grandmother. Since all of the ladies are immigrants, we share so much in common – beginnings, babies, countries in political struggles, losing relatives in a war, finding footing in a new country, learning a language… it’s all a very familiar story to our family…”
He continues, “Principally, though, “Lullaby and Memory” is based on a moment I shared with my grandmother-in-law, who is well in her 90s. On a visit last year, I saw her asleep in a chair, whispering in Yiddish to her late husband. Her face was in a trance, smiling, shining, telling stories…“Lullaby & Memory” is part folk song, part tango, part hora – it’s really a mix of influences, all singing together.”
More about the project and composers at http://www.quintet.org/.
We are very proud to be Queens’ own premiere woodwind quintet. Founded in Bogota, Colombia in 1976, we’ve specialized in bringing music from the Western hemisphere to audiences in the United States since our arrival in New York in 1979. Our members are Karla Moe, flute, Matt Sullivan, oboe, Nicholas Gallas, clarinet, Barbara Oldham, horn and Maureen Strenge, bassoon. Visit our website at http://www.quintet.org.