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The Lyrical Strings Duo
with Agnieszka Laska Dancers,
Chervona Bambino & Ilene Safyan
On an Overgrown Path
Dreamscapes, Dances and Love Stories
of the European Borderlands
Thursday, April 30th at 8 pm
Alberta Rose Theater
3000 NE Alberta St, Portland
$25 General / $12 student, senior or low-income
Moravia has been called the intersection of Eastern and Western European music. The convergence of these disparate elements, throughout the Europeans Borderlands at the turn of the last century, created a rich musical tradition that was cut off by politics and war for generations. A collaboration between classical musicians, folk musicians and modern dancers, On an Overgrown Path revives these cultural treasures in new arrangements and settings.
The program is inspired by Leoš Janáček’s work of the same name, which draws on the folklore of his native Moravia and his own personal stories. The Lyrical Strings Duo will perform his works alongside those of his romantic era predecessors and the vibrant folk and Gypsy-inspired works of his contemporaries and successors. The composers on the program include Antonín Dvořák, Frédéric Chopin, Henryk Wieniawski, Mykola Lysenko, Jeno Hubay, and Bohuslav Martinů.
The evening begins with Andrei Temkin’s Chervona Bambino trio, featuring Viorel Russo of the Oregon Symphony on viola and Jeff Holt of the Wanderlust Orchestra on upright bass, exploring the region's folk traditions.
International multi-media performance artist and choreographer Agnieszka Laska, has created a number of dance pieces to accompany Lyrical Strings’ original arrangements.
The Lyrical Strings Duo will also be joined by special guest singer Ilene Safyan, an award winning artist who specialize in Jewish music.
On an Overgrown Path is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.
Lyrical Strings Duo
Lucia Conrad & Stephen Osserman
A sensational pairing of two accomplished musicians. Lucia Conrad's playing is expressive, inventive and virtuosic. Stephen Osserman provides sensitive and tasteful accompaniment. Together they are an absolute joy to listen to!
– Greg Ewer, director of 45th Parallel
Lucia Conrad was born and raised in Czech Republic and is a graduate of the Prague Conservatory. Having appeared in both the United States and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician she is equally at home rocking a Shostakovich string quartet at a rock club, playing a live Filmusik soundtrack in a movie theater, and performing Verdi's Requiem at a major concert hall. Now based in Portland she is the Concertmaster of the Willamette Falls Symphony and Assistant Concertmaster of the Salem Chamber Orchestra. She also subs with the Portland Opera and performs regularly with many other chamber groups and orchestras.
Since Stephen Osserman's days as a student at the Yale School of Music – where he earned a Masters of Music in Guitar Performance – he has loved collaborations with other artists. Through both his earlier work combining traditional guitar repertoire with dance, poetry, theater and more, and his more recent projects arranging music for the Lyrical Strings Duo, he has always aimed to bring classical guitar to new places and pull in new audiences in the process. In addition to performing regularly with Lyrical Strings Duo he has been invited recently to make special appearances with the Willamette Falls Symphony and Salem Chamber Orchestra, as well as regional string quartets, and other chamber groups.
First coming together in 2009, the Lyrical Strings Duo has played everywhere from churches to rock venues; from outdoor festival stages to intimate living rooms. They have toured in Oregon and California, performed as soloists for Astor Piazzolla's Double Concerto with the Willamette Falls Symphony, and released their debut album Evening Songs – which features more than a dozen of their original arrangements for violin and guitar. The duo’s latest project explores the intersection of folk traditions, romanticism, and story telling in the instrumental music of 19th and early 20th century Central/Eastern Europe. This repertoire will form the basis of the duo’s second album, to be released in 2015.
I truly appreciate Lucia and Stephen’s performance. Their music is brilliantly executed, and their interpretation and arrangements of these beautiful pieces transport me to another world.
– Béla R. Balogh, violinist and co-founder of 3 Leg Torso
To my mind the playing on [Evening Songs] is as good as it gets – articulate, well-phrased, passionate and soulful. We hear the dynamic and explosive contrasted with tender moments of lyricism. Truly a landmark recording for the violin and guitar duo combination.
– Philip Rosheger, guitarist, first American to win Segovia’s International Guitar Competition in 1972
The Lyrical Strings Duo delivered performances of wonderful virtuosity and quiet intensity that ebbed and flowed with grace. The imaginative, skillful arrangements showcase the Duo’s fresh and engaging interpretations that are chock-full of passion and beautiful artistry.
– Pat Zagelow, Executive Director of Friends of Chamber Music
"This unusual yet perfect combination of guitar and violin makes for a feast for the ears, a true delight to hear. The clever, inventive arrangements Lucia and Stephen have made absolutely catapult this music to life. Had the composers heard their version, I have no doubt they'd throw their pens down and say That's how it should be! Their mastery of the instruments is crystal clear, as is their love for the music."
– Adam LaMotte, violinist, concertmaster, conductor, artistic director of numerous acclaimed ensembles
Agnieszka Laska & Agnieszka Laska Dancers
Laska’s own choreography was dramatic and emotional, balanced between narrative and abstract, deeply engaging and captivating. At times I lost track of the story and lost myself completely in the swirling movement and energy onstage. The dancing was heartfelt and attacked the choreography with commitment and passion.
– Jamuna Chiarini, Oregon Arts Watch
Agnieszka Laska is a Portland-based choreographer. Before moving to the U.S. she toured Europe and North America during her 25 years as a dancer with Balet Form Nowoczesnych AGH -- a top Polish modern dance company, and choreographed award-winning theater productions in Europe, including at festivals such as Edinburgh and Avignon.
She launched Agnieszka Laska Dancers in 2003, creating numerous works, often to the music of composers such as Tomas Svoboda and Jack Gabel, usually performed with musicians on stage. ALD performs regionally and on several occasions toured to dance festivals in Mexico and Poland. Agnieszka collaborates closely with artists in various disciplines and is known for creating provocative works related to the most painful issues of our time
Andrei Temkin & Chervona Bambino
In the last 5 years, my favorite new band, hands down, is Chervona! Who could ever imagine that Portland, Oregon would breed the most excellent, musically breathtaking and jaw-dropping outlandishly fabulous Russian party band??!! But then again, Portland has always been a place where the unlikely underdog can win big, and far exceed anyone's reasonable expectations!
– Thomas M. Lauderdale, founder and bandleader of Pink Martini.
Andrei Temkin is a singer and guitarist best known as the founder of several popular bands including Miru Mir! and Chervona, which combines the influences and passions of Gypsy, Russian, Ukrainian, Klezmer and Balkan musical traditions. Chervona has performed alongside world famous acts Manu Chao and Gogol Bordello, as well as March Forth, 3 Leg Torso, Vagabond Opera, and Portland Cello Project.
For On An Overgrown Path, Andrei will be joined by Viorel Russo of the Oregon Symphony on viola and Jeff Holt of Wanderlust Orchestra on upright bass. The repertoire of this new trio, called Chervona Bambino, includes songs with strong Russian and Gypsy flavor, but in contrast to the high energy dance sets of Chervona have a softer and more lyrical nature.
Combining beautiful voices and pedagogic skills, they enthralled the audience of parents and children alike, casting a spell over the young at heart.
– Rabbi Benjamin Herson, Malibu, CA.
Since her arrival in Portland in the early 1980s, Ilene Safyan immediately immersed herself in Portland’s Jewish music scene, teaching, singing, and sharing her love of Jewish music with the Portland Jewish community. She is well known locally for her work as Cantorial Soloist at two congregations (Havurah Shalom and Neveh Shalom), and her harmonies and arrangements of Jewish music have delighted audiences around the country.
She is the winner of two Parents’ Choice Awards for her recordings of Jewish Music, and her composition, “Petah Lanu Sha’ar” received recognition as a 2010 winner of Shalshelet’s International Competition for New Jewish Music. Her music was most recently featured during this past Chanukah season in Itzhak Perlman’s “Chanukah Party” radio show, heard nationwide on Public Broadcasting radio stations.