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Season Sponsor


Concert Sponsor

Nancy Loncki

2022 - 2023

Chamber Music Series

 THURSDAY December 8 7pm
SUNDAY December 11 2pm

Featuring music by and with composers who have a close connection with Montana, including an exciting new Piano Quintet by Richard Pearson Thomas


(Note: This concert only is on a Thursday due to a scheduling issue.)

The Newberry

420 Central Avenue


First Congregational Church 

2900 9th Ave S

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Cascade Quartet

Lynn L. Petersen
High Country Suite

1. Hoedown

2. Hymn Without Words

3. Hilltop Gallop

High Country Suite is a work in three movements for string quartet. "Hoedown" is a lively kick-up-your-heels movement containing cascading scales, measured tremolos, accented double-stops, and a syncopated fiddle motive. 

The solemn "Hymn Without Words" begins with the cello playing the simple

chorale-like theme alone. In each of the three variations that follow, the theme is

played by a different member of the quartet, accompanied by the other three.

"Hilltop Gallop" is in a rollicking 6/8 meter, with long-short-long patterns and melodic fragments characterized by dramatic leaps and arpeggios, punctuated by pizzicato chords. 


– Notes by Lynn Petersen



Lynn Petersen is a composer, pianist and organist with over 35 years of experience

teaching and performing. She has composed and arranged music for orchestra, band, jazz ensemble, chamber ensembles, choir, voice, piano, organ, and music for lliturgyand worship. Her compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, Concordia Publishing House, GIA Publications, and Northwestern Publishing House. Lynn earned a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Church Music degree from Concordia College-River Forest, and a BS in Elementary Education from Dr. Martin Luther College.

Matt LaRocca
Snowfall on Mystic Lake

1. Prelude

2. Dance

I first started sketching Snowfall on Mystic Lake about two years ago. I had moved away from Montana for a couple of years and was living in Pittsburgh, PA. During the beginning of January, I came back to Montana to visit my girlfriend, and we spent a night in a forest service cabin near Bozeman, perched above Mystic Lake. After being in Pittsburgh for so long, I was struck by the sheer beauty of where we were, and realized just how much where I live can affect the music I write. We skied into the cabin in the late afternoon under snow flurries. The snow continued for much of the trip up, before clearing into a beautifully clear night with an almost full moon. The way the flurries were falling, the light bouncing off the snow … it reminded me of a dance between all these elements of nature that I was missing in Pittsburgh. 

I have always tended to draw inspiration from the natural world, but this is the first piece where the music is based on one specific occurrence. It reflects how I felt at the time I was there, and under a different set of circumstances, the same setting could evoke a completely different set of emotions. That’s the beauty of nature, however, especially when living in a state such as Montana. Each person can experience the same setting in a completely different way. This piece is my experience on that snowy, still night at Mystic Lake. The moonlight playing off the snow and the flurries softly falling in the wind, forming an elegant, playful dance. 


Matt LaRocca is a composer, performer and educator living in Burlington, VT. He is the Creative Chair of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, teaches theory and composition at the University of Vermont and is the music director of the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also the director of Music-COMP, an organization that teaches composition to hundreds of students throughout Vermont and the United States.

Matt's music has been commissioned by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Youth Symphony and more. He also works as an arranger for rock bands and has created orchestral arrangements for artists such as Guster (his work can be heard on their OMAGAH! album), Kat Wright, Haux and Henry Jamison. In addition to composing, Matt is an active performer on both the guitar and viola. 

Charles Nichols

1. Buoyant, curious, celebratory

2. Searching, melancholy, pleading

3. Sweet, joyful, jubilant

Verdigris began as theme music for three radio shows detailing the oral history of Butte, Montana. To score these programs, which tell the stories of the immigrants who built the culture, architecture, and industry of what was once one of the richest cities in the country, nostalgic and melancholy themes were composed for layers of violin, and recorded over looped samples from field recordings of harmonica.


These four short themes were later developed, while the composer isolated during the pandemic in Butte, into three movements for string quartet, to be performed and recorded as a capstone to the three-year project. The radio show themes and string quartet were commissioned by the Butte America Foundation, in partnership with KBMF 102.5 FM and the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The theme music was recorded on violin by the composer, over samples of harmonica played by Eric Grant, and the string quartet was written for and premiered by the Cascade Quartet in the Carpenters Union Hall in Butte.  


–  Notes by Charles Nichols


Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher Charles Nichols, whose music Gramophone writes “deconstructs Baroque virtuosity,” explores the expressive potential of instrumental ensembles, computer music systems, and combinations of the two, for the concert stage, and collaborations with dance, video, and installation art. He teaches Composition and Creative Technologies at Virginia Tech and is a Faculty Fellow of the Institute for Creativity Arts and Technology and the Center for Communicating Science. He was a Technical Director at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford and a Research Associate at the Center for Studies in Music Technology at Yale, and earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Yale University, and Stanford University.

Richard Pearson Thomas
FEAT. Richard Pearson Thomas PIANO

1. Bright and rhythmic

2. Simple and expressive

3. Moderately fast and rough with
fury or humor (or both)

4. Swift and fleeting

The Piano Quintet was composed January / February 2021 in Great Falls overlooking the Little Belt Mountains and the Missouri River where thousands of geese huddled on the ice — more than I ever remembered. It was a challenging time of medical and political instability. I had left my apartment in New York City months earlier to ride out the pandemic in Montana. None of that is reflected in the music. My primary objective was to compose something fun for the players and the audience. The score follows a traditional four-movement structure with melodies accumulating and morphing from movement to movement. 

(Maybe a few of those geese in flight made it into the last movement.)


— Notes Richard Pearson Thomas



Richard Pearson Thomas, composer and pianist, has had works performed by the Boston Pops, Covent Garden Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Opera, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Banff Centre, Portland Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, and Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. His songs have been sung in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Merkin Concert Hall, Wigmore Hall, Joe’s Pub, Le Poisson Rouge, and before the U.S. Congress by artists such as Audra McDonald, Sanford Sylvan, Lauren Flanigan and Kurt Ollmann. He is a frequent collaborator with The Mirror Visions Ensemble which performs his commissioned works in the United States and Europe.

He is a recipient of an American Composers’ Forum Continental Harmony commission for the Alabama Tri-State Orchestra as well as commissions from The Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Empire State Youth Orchestra, Lebanon Valley College Orchestra, The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, and the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra. His work Race for the Sky, which was commissioned as a commemoration of the events of 9/11, has been performed by the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra and in recitals nationwide and abroad, including in the Sydney Opera House.


Chamber music by Mr. Thomas has been performed by Sybarite 5, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Duo Terlano, Trillium Ensemble, Music of the Spheres Society, South Country Concerts, and recorded by violinist Stephanie Chase at the National Arts Club for broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today. Mr. Thomas’s work Singing like the Larks for mezzo-soprano and piano quintet was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2014 MTNA Distinguished Composers competition.

As pianist, Mr. Thomas has concertized with singers and chamber musicians worldwide.

Mr. Thomas is currently on faculty at Columbia University Teachers College. He has taught at Yale and the University of Central Florida. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, and is a native of Montana.

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