If you are looking for a unique musical experience this summer, Taos Soundscapes offers a rare treat: string quartet music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Joaquín Turina in a glorious alpine meadow. The free musical concert is sponsored by the Crooked Creek Concert Series, hosted by Dave and Marney Wasserman.
The concert takes place in the Wasserman’s private meadow in Valle Escondido at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday (July 16). From Taos or Angel Fire, follow U.S. 64 to the Valle Escondido turnoff between mile markers 267 and 268. Then, follow signs to the concert along the county road. For more information, call (575) 758-4332.
“Valle Escondido has an alpine feeling – a little less foreboding than Taos Ski Valley. It is a gentler mountain,” says cellist Rebecca Caron, co-artistic director of Taos Soundscapes.
“We have a beautiful diversity of landscapes [in Taos County],” says Caron. “The name ‘Soundscapes’ came partly from that. … We use sound instead of paint to provide soundscapes for people to step into.”
“La oración del torero” by Turina and “Quartet No. 1 in D major, Opus 11” by Tchaikovsky are both on the program.
According to Caron, Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) composed “Quartet No. 1 in D major, Opus 11” in 1871. The piece has four movements: “Moderato e semplice (D major)”; “Andante cantabile (B major)”; “Scherzo. Allegro non tanto e con fuoco – Trio (D minor)”; and “Finale. Allegro giusto – Allegro vivace (D major).”
Turina’s life overlapped Tchaikovsky’s; he lived from 1882 to 1949 and published his “La oración del torero” in 1926.
“It is [a] very descriptive piece of music. You almost could swear there is a movie that must go with it,” commented Caron. The one-movement piece, which commemorates the bullfighter (torero), has “a lot of bravura” and “a very transcendent ending,” she added.
The Taos Soundscapes concert will be performed by Caron (cellist), Kay Newman (violinist), Catherine Pope (violinist) and Joseph Pope (violist).
Caron began her musical studies in Seattle, Washington, where she was born. She studied under Terry King and Charles Wendt at Grinnell College, Lev Aronson at Southern Methodist University and Joanna de Keyser at the University of New Mexico. Caron was cellist for the Caron Quartet and Oncydium Chamber Baroque and has also performed with Los Alamos Brown Bag Concert Series, Moveable Music, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Music from Angel Fire and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
As an educator, Caron has taught music at New Mexico Highlands University and Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, where she serves on the board of Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico and was recognized as the PMTNM teacher of the year in 2012.
Caron serves on the Taos Schools Fine Arts Advisory Board and is involved with Taos Soundscapes’ collaboration with Taos Elementary Arts Visiting Artists Program. She lives in the Tienditas area near Valle Escondido. Her cello was made by her husband, David Caron, the renowned violin maker.
Newnam, a native of Los Alamos, graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her teachers included Jascha Brodsky, Ivan Galamian and members of the Guarneri and Budapest quartets.
Newman has performed with the Santa Fe Pro Musica and was concertmaster and violin soloist of the Orchestra of Santa Fe for 22 years. For the latter, she performed throughout the western part of the United States, Mexico, the West Indies, Germany and Greece.
Newman plays a violin that was made in 1735 by Giovanni Francesco Celaniatus, of Turin, Italy. She has performed with Taos Soundscapes since its first season.
Violinist Catherine Pope and violist Joseph Pope are married to one another. Both have played with the San Juan Symphony. Catherine Pope is also an accomplished singer who performs in choirs and as a soloist. In addition to being a musician, Joseph Pope is a physician.
For more information, visit taossoundscapes.com.