String Quartet No. 7: dust motes floating in light
by Melika M. Fitzhugh, 2021 Composer-in-Residence
Premiered during the 2021 Virtual Festival on March 20th, 2021.
Craft Ensemble, 2021 Ensemble-in-Residence:
Amy Sims and Colleen Brannen, violin
Amelia Hollander Ames, viola
Velleda Miragias, cello
Recorded on February 7th, 2021, in the Rivera Recital Hall, Bradley Building, at the Rivers Conservatory in Weston, MA.
Audio recorded and mixed by William Jones of Kinsmen Sound: https://www.kinsmensound.com/
Videography, Editing, and Production by Dave Jamrog: https://www.davejamrog.com/
Made possible in part by The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
About The Piece:
An exploration of light — a beam, a glare, a soft waft — and what one may see within it…memory, or an after-image lingering on the retina.
The title comes from Beloved by Toni Morrison (1931-2019):
“Sifting daylight dissolves the memory, turns it into dust motes floating in light.”
About The Composer:
A native of Stafford, Virginia, Melika M. Fitzhugh (A.B. Harvard-Radcliffe, Music Theory and Composition; M.M. Longy School of Bard College, Composition) has studied conducting and composition with Thomas G. Everett, Beverly Taylor, James Yannatos, Julian Pellicano, Roger Marsh, Jeff Stadelman, and, most recently, Osnat Netzer and John Howell Morrison. Performed internationally, Mel’s compositions have been commissioned by John Tyson, Catherine E. Reuben, Laura and Geoffrey Shamu, and the Quilisma Consort, and have been performed by those artists as well as B3: Brouwer Trio (Valencia, Spain), the PHACE Ensemble (Vienna, Austria), Quarteto L’Arianna (São Paulo, Brazil), Sarah Jeffrey (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), the Radcliffe Choral Society, Patricia Reuben Abreu, Berit Strong, Miyuki Tsurutani, and Aldo Abreu.
Mel was the 2020 winner of the PatsyLu Prize for the International Alliance for Women in Music’s Search for New Music, and has performed with the Radcliffe Choral Society, Coro Allegro, the Harvard Wind Ensemble, the Village Circle Band, and WACSAC. Mel, who has composed music for film and stage, was a member of Just-In-Time Composers and Players and is currently a member of world/early music ensemble Urban Myth and the early music ensemble Quilisma Consort, in addition to playing bass guitar with acoustic rock singer/songwriter Emmy Cerra, the ambient rock band Rose Cabal and the Balkan folk dance band Balkan Fields. Mel enjoys playing a variety of instruments for folk dance ensembles, including: violin/viola; acoustic guitar/bass; recorders; flute; hand percussion including dumbek/djembe/cajon. Mel teaches these instruments, in addition to piano, violoncello, trumpet, clarinet and saxophone, privately.
About The Ensemble:
Praised for their “lush, warm, robust and full-bodied performance,” The Craft Ensemble formed in 2016 and is comprised of a core string quartet of Boston based musicians, Colleen Brannen and Amy Sims on violin, violist Amelia Hollander Ames, and cellist Velleda Miragias. In past seasons the Craft has performed on chamber music series throughout the greater Boston area including Salem Classical, Boston Public Library’s Concerts in the Courtyard and Trinity College’s Summer Music Series in Hartford, Connecticut as well as several performances for the New England Philharmonic’s Mosaic series. The four instrumentalists play with various ensembles throughout New England such as A Far Cry, Back Bay Chorale, Boston Baroque, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Philharmonic, Handel & Haydn Society, Odyssey Opera, Portland Symphony, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
Primarily formed to make joyful music among friends playing from the robust string quartet canon, the Craft has also sought to promote the works of female composers of the past and those currently creating music. Past performances have included works by Emily Doolittle, Imogen Holst, Missy Mazzoli, Fanny Mendelssohn, Jessie Montgomery, Osnat Netzer, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Caroline Shaw. The flexibility in numbers has allowed the Craft exciting collaborations in past seasons, among them the Schubert cello quintet, the Shostakovich piano quintet, flute quintets by Walter Piston and Osnat Netzer and the Brahms sextet in G major.