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Arts & Culture Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

World Class Classical Artists Perform in The Bahamas
By Felicity Ingraham
Feb 1, 2017 - 1:14:07 AM

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Quartetto Di Cremona

The Nassau Music Society brought in the new year with a stunning performance of classical music from world-class artists, who flew in to participate in a two-day event.

Ambra Albek and the Quartetto Di Cremona performed for a packed audience at St. Paul's Anglican Church Hall, Lyford Cay on Sunday, January 22, where they received a standing ovation. They entertained a smaller crowd at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Princess St. the day before. The artists also led a master class that exposed music students to a unique learning experience.

Simone Fitzcharles, President of the Nassau Music Society, said the organization is gearing up for a great variety of concerts and master classes for a fun-filled season filled with visits from world-renown artists.

With a mission of "Bringing the World of Music to The Bahamas", The Society consists of a vibrant set of people who work behind the scenes to make these concerts and free master classes run smoothly.

Ambra Albek is a violinist and a violist who holds a Master's Degree with distinction in piano chamber music and a concert diploma with top marks, having studied in Italy and Switzerland.

She formed the Albek duo along with her twin sister, Fiona, until Fiona's recent tragic death. During their international concert career, the Albek duo participated in numerous festivals throughout Europe, the United States, South America, Australia and China. They performed both as a duo and in other chamber music formations, as well as playing solo duo with orchestra accompaniment. The final performance on Sunday night led to a rousing standing ovation when the artists collaborated to present a piece especially created in memory of Fiona and her exuberant and passionate personality.

Several prominent composers wrote expressly for the Albek Duo, including Italian composer Allessandro Luccheti's Fantasies on themes from famous operas, and the well-known American composer William Perry's Gemini Concerto: An Entertainment for Violin, Piano and Orchestra. They performed the latter at the Premiere in USA and then recorded for the Naxos label with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin, directed by Paul Phillips. The duo also recorded South of the Alps (with Eroica), Sound in Search of A Past, and the "opera" CD Roaring Dramas (with VDE-Gallo).

Internationally renowned for their "extremely mature and lyrical sound", string quartet Quartetto di Cremona has a focus and intensity that brings life to music from the "tight blend and immaculate voicing" of their Brahms to the "sleek and elegant" dynamic contouring of their Mozart (Strad).

The Quartetto Di Cremona formed in 2000 at the Stauffer Academy in Cremona, Italy, which is their homeland, and continued as they studied at Hatto Beyerle. The group comprises: Cristiano Gualco on violin, Paolo Andreoli also on violin, Simone Gramaglia on viola, and Giovanni Scaglioni on cello. They have played to critical acclaim at the most important venues and festivals in Europe including at the Beethoven Haus and Beethoven Bonn, Konzerthaus (Berlin), Klara Festival (Brussels)Moving on Music Festival (Northern Ireland) and many others. They have also performed extensively in the USA as well as Australia, including the popularPerth International Art Festival.

Saturday's performance featured Schubert Quartet Death and the Maiden, and Beethoven String Quartet op. 29. Sunday's performances included F. Mendelssohn Cappricio op.81, W. A. Mozart K465, and Brahm's String Quartet op.111.

Fitzcharles brought new year's wishes and updated the public on the Society's achievements, keeping their fervent promise to promote and encourage the art of music in The Bahamas.

"We are proud to note that we have thus far fulfilled more than fifty per cent of our $80,000 pledge to provide scholarships to outstanding music students at the College of The Bahamas," she said.

"The goal is also one of simultaneously uplifting our youth and helping to bring their dreams into reality."

Ambra Albek and the Quartetto Di Cremono's landmark performance in The Bahamas was held under the patronage of Her Excellency dame Marguerite Pindling. Sponsors included Colina Insurance Limited, Pictet Bank, Lennox Patton, RoyalStar Assurance, the Mall at marathon, Atlantis Resorts, RBC Royal Bank, and Classical 98.1fm.

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