Something larger

A Far Cry will bring chamber music concert to Grafton

GRAFTON — In its continuing effort to bring exciting and interesting music to Windham County, the Grafton Music Festival presents the internationally acclaimed, Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry at the White Church at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20.

The White Church, located on Main Street, is acclaimed for its excellent acoustics, making it ideal for a chamber music performance.

A Far Cry consists of 18 string players, and is based in Boston. Many of its members graduated from the New England Conservatory.

Because it expands the boundaries of orchestral repertoire, and experiments with how music is prepared, performed, and experienced, A Far Cry is embraced worldwide. The proof: three albums, more than 200 performances, and viral popularity on the Internet.

A Far Cry has been named the resident chamber group at the new concert hall in the Gardner Museum in Boston, where it performs three or four times a year. This past October, the ensemble's first European tour included seven concerts in Austria, including the celebrated 1,700 seat Golden Hall in Vienna, where they were were warmly received and critically acclaimed.

The program of the concert includes a wide variety of music, contrasting work from the baroque - Battalia a 10 by Biber - with several 20th century classics - Fratres by Part; Last Round by Golijov; and Sonata for Strings by Walton.

Jesse Irons, A Far Cry violinist, describes the program as “a mixture of some of the greatest hits of our first six years, capped off by a relatively new discovery of ours, the 'Walton Sonata,' which is an intensely emotional and layered work that has completely won us over.”

The Grafton Music Festival, which receives support from members of the community and from the Windham Foundation, based in Grafton, was established in 2009. It presents three days of concerts annually around the Fourth of July, although the festival recently has begun presenting special performances throughout the year.

Grafton Music Festival is a community-based organization dedicated to bringing live music to the Grafton area.

“Grafton has not had much of a history for music, perhaps excluding the Old Tavern in the Grafton Inn, which has something of a tradition for live musico over time. It has had a concert series there. But we wanted something larger,” said Liisa Kissel, the Festival's executive director.

Return engagement

This is the second time Grafton Music Festival has sponsored a concert by A Far Cry.

“The chamber orchestra was such a huge success, and was so well received when they came to Grafton the last time, it felt imperative to bring them back,” Kissel says. “A Far Cry may not be as well known as some other chamber orchestras, but their reputation is rapidly growing.”

Kissel is eager to point out that the group is only six years old, underscoring its artistic progress and momentum.

“Most of the members got to know each other at the New England Conservatory and found they enjoyed playing with each other, so they founded the orchestra,” she said. “The group has no conductor. The person leading the piece runs rehearsal. It is a very democratic organization. Members of group are on the board of directors with rotating memberships. That means that they run the administration of A Far Cry themselves.”

“Grafton Music Festival is very excited about this return engagement,” she adds. “I would recommend people buy their tickets early because, if it is anything like last time they were here, we expect to sell out. I also think it important to add, for this concert and all others, that the Grafton Music Festival greatly appreciates the support of the community and the Windham Foundation.”

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