May 8, 2014
Back in 1973, Ashmont Hill Chamber Music launched its debut season with an intimate concert inside a Victorian home on Ocean Street, bringing the works of Beethoven, Janacek and Ravel to Dot’s doorstep.
Next Saturday, a revitalized Ashmont Hill Chamber Music returns to its original roots with a season-opening benefit concert at the same Ocean Street locale— only a few doors down at number 60 Ocean.
It also marks the opening chords in a new era for the esteemed concert program under the leadership of incoming artistic director Mary Beth Alger, a veteran chamber music programmer. Alger, who ran the highly regarded Chappaquiddick Summer Music Festival in Martha’s Vineyard for the last 15 years, is tapping her extensive network of performers to bring in some of the world’s finest talents for her debut season.
The May 17 concert will feature The Claremont Trio, currently the most sought after young chamber group in the nation, who will perform selections from Beethoven, Shostakovich and Brahms. The concert will be preceded by a wine reception at 6 p.m. Tickets to this initimate performance are $90 with proceeds to benefit the organization. Tickets to the other two scheduled shows of the season — set for July and October— are priced at $20.
The July 31 show, featuring Grammy-nominated musicians Todd Palmer and Jesse Mills, will be staged in Milton’s Firsh Parish Church on Canton Ave. The Oct. 26 performance by internationally acclaimed soprano Jeanine De Bique, will be set in Dorchester St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Cushing Avenue in Uphams Corner.
The mix of concerts and venues speaks to Alger’s vision to adhere to Ashmont Hill’s city roots while also seeking out a regional audience that is tuned into world-class chamber music opportunities.
“I think people will come over from all over the region,” said Alger, adding that she intends to continue to stage the series in smaller venues to protect “the intimacy of chamber music, as it can be lost in bigger halls.”
“There are pockets of neighborhoods that are undeserved and they are sometimes presented with ‘so-so’ music as if they won’t know the difference,” said Alger, whose daughter lives in the neighborhood. “But they will know the difference, and they deserve the best. You give the best, always. Our goal is to bring the very, very best possible we can into every neighborhood,” said Alger.
One project still in formation for the coming season is an educational component that will engage local children in the act of organizing a pair of concerts in collaboration with Ashmont Hill Chamber Music. Alger has been meeting with Seychelle Dunn, a classically trained saxophonist and teacher at the Epiphany School to plan the new initiative.
“Beginning in September, we are calling the Children’s Concert Production Program, where the children will produce their own concert. They will start by learning about chamber music, the different ensembles, they will hear different composers, and choose the programming. They will be the artistic directors themselves, everything from beginning to end. They will have absolute ownership,” said Alger.
Tickets to the current season of the AHCM concerts can be purchased online at ahchambermusic.org
Reporter editor Bill Forry contributed to this article.