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LIVE FRIDAY November 20




Chamber Music Series

Featuring Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring with dancer Sarah Dassinger

The New York Times described Amanda Harberg's music as “a sultry excursion into lyricism.“

Amanda Harberg is an American composer and pianist. Her compositions, ranging from solo instrumental and chamber works to orchestral works have been performed and accoladed throughout the US. She is also an active educator, currently teaching composition at Rutgers University.

Suite for Wind Quintet was composed in 2017 for the Dorian Wind Quintet. The work is in four movements– 1. Cantus, 2. Furlana, 3. Fantasia, and 4. Cabaletta. The melodic material heard in the very opening of the piece can be heard recurring and transforming throughout the four movements, until it unites triumphantly in the final coda with the theme of the concluding movement. The piece was inspired by the concept of placing Renaissance and Baroque-inspired dance suites into Harberg’s idiom as a 21st century composer.

– Notes by Madeleine Folkerts


Chinook Winds

The Rite of Spring
was imagined for dance.

Leonard Bernstein has called Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring “the most important piece of music of the 20th century.” This is hardly a controversial statement. There are few works from this very period that have had the impact on music that followed than has The Rite of Spring.

As a young composer, Stravinsky impressed the impresario Serge Diaghilev that Stravinsky was commissioned to compose three ballets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The first was Stravinsky’s magnificent The Firebird, and the second was 1911’s Petrushka, which starred Vaslav Nijinsky dancing as the namesake puppet. Prior to composing Petrushka, Stravinsky had a fleeting vision: “I saw in imagination a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring.”

He used this as the basis for his third commission, Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring). The premiere was held on May 29, 1913 at the newly opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris under the baton of Pierre Monteux. The dance was choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky.


The audience’s reaction has become legend, with jeering and fighting in the hall between traditionalists who believed in classical ballet and bohemians, who were impatient with the trappings of classical ballet and instead desired the avant-garde. The work has been popular from its first concert performance on February 18, 1914, in St. Petersburg under Serge Koussevitzky.

On April 5th of that year, Stravinsky experienced for himself the popular success of The Rite of Spring as a concert work at the Casino de Paris. The composition is in two broad parts, Adoration of the Earth and The Sacrifice. This arrangement by Jonathan Russell highlights all of the greatest moments of the entire ballet and the ingenuous ways Stravinsky wrote for woodwind instruments.

– Notes by Paul Chinen

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Sarah Dassinger

Chamber Music Series

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