Celebrating 30+ Years of Wild and Scenic Music


Praise for the Taos Chamber Music Group!

“One of the great treasures of Taos” -The Taos News 
“Big magic…silken ensemble playing”
 -Albuquerque Journal
“A remarkable concert of juxtaposed styles”
 -Horse Fly 
“Depth, vitality and inventiveness” 
-Spencer Beckwith, KUNM

Press Release

Taos Chamber Music Group presents
“The Overlook”
Saturday, 5/18/24 and Sunday, 5/19/24 at 5:30 p.m.
at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos

The Taos Chamber Music Group presents “The Overlook” at the Harwood Museum of Art on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, 5:30 p.m. This is the final program of TCMG’s 31st Season and it features six, genre-expanding contemporary works by Pauline Oliveros, Carlos Simon, Shelley Washington, Trevor Weston, Shanan Estreicher and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson.

Cellist Laura Metcalf returns to TCMG to perform this May with The Overlook Quartet. This uptown NYC string quartet amplifies the music of Black composers with a community-building mission. The Overlook, described as “breathtaking” and “paradigm-shifting” by New York Music Daily, is a unifying force whose dedication to a more representative musical tradition reverberates throughout the industry. Formed during the pandemic and born out of the need to share music at this important time and make it accessible, The Overlook presented virtual performances with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, live performances at Lincoln Center and events in nontraditional spaces.

Building relationships with composers and championing new and overlooked works have been integral to The Overlook’s mission. Their program for TCMG’s May program tells deeply personal stories, explores intimate subjects such as identity, ancestry and homeland, and raises larger questions about the universe and our place within it.

The Overlook’s thoughtfully curated program begins with an improvisatory musical meditation by Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016), Out of the Dark. This contemplative string quartet starts with darkness and places the performers at the extremities of the space to envelop the audience in sound. Oliveros founded the Deep Listening Institute, now the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer, to encourage the practice of respectful and inclusive listening. Oliveros said this about the power of listening and what it can contribute to life, “to create an atmosphere of opening for all to be heard, with the understanding that listening is healing.”

The program continues with the chamber music composition Warmth from Other Suns by Carlos Simon (b. 1986). This piece, commissioned by the Sphinx Organization, depicts arrival, fear and hope. Simon has this to say about his work: “Between 1916 and 1970, the mass exodus of African-Americans leaving the rural South, seeking homes in the urban West, Midwest, and Northeast became known as the Great Migration. Inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s book The Warmth of Other Suns, I chose to bring these stories to life through the voice of a string quartet.”

The first half of the program concludes with a unique and compelling work by Shelley Washington (b. 1991), Say. It calls upon the musicians to not only play their instruments, but to simultaneously sing and perform body percussion. The work is centered upon a powerful refrain: “Say it loud”.

After a short intermission, the program continues with Juba by Trevor Weston (b. 1967). This work takes a musical journey from Africa to the United States to honor the lives and contributions of African-Americans, utilizing traditional African music and folk music idioms. Weston was the winner of the first Emerging Black Composers Project award sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Symphony and his music has been called a “gently syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling” by the Detroit Free Press.

The next piece in the program is I Laughed so Hard I Cried (for Judee Sill) by Shanan Estreicher (b. 1976), a meditative homage to folk singer Judee Sill, a life lost too soon. Rolling Stone says this about Sill: “Whether it’s the religious imagery in her lyrics or her ornate, Bach-influenced orchestral arrangements, there’s a mystical force that draws listeners to Sill.”

May’s program concludes with String Quartet #1, “Calvary” by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004). This composition is a rousing and compact work in three movements that takes the traditional string quartet form and breaks it open through Perkinson’s ingenious development of a traditional hymn.

“The Overlook” program on May 18 and 19 concludes the 31st Season and TCMG’s 32nd Season will begin with the American String Quartet concerts on Friday, September 27, 5:30 p.m. at the Harwood and Sunday, September 29, 3:00 p.m. at the Taos Center for the Arts. More details on the rest of the next exciting season will be announced this summer.

For more information on artists and performances, visit https://taoschambermusicgroup.org. Tickets: https://taoschambermusicgroup.org or https://harwoodmuseum.org

TCMG is always looking for volunteers. Email pam@taoschambermusicgroup.org for more information.