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Home Arts and Culture  Zeroing in: Chamber series
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Wednesday, April 25,2012

Zeroing in: Chamber series

by Lawrence Cosentino

Two flute melodies darted in and out of 80 ears in a breath-taking butterfly chase that spiraled to the ceiling of Lansing’s Molly Grove Chapel Sunday. The silvery echo lasted barely half a second. It was too late to grab the net. Flutists Richard Sherman and Bryan Guarnuccio smiled at their fleeting communion.

The final Lansing Symphony chamber concert of the season gave delicate notice that the symphony isn’t all about blasting brass, soaring strings and booming tympani.

“You’re in a smaller hall, there’s one person to a part,” Sherman said. “You get to zero in on the instruments in a personal way.”

Next season, the long-running series will bring musicians close to the audience in combinations that are familiar and not so familiar.

Sherman, the symphony’s principal flutist and artistic director of the chamber series, said that many of the greatest composers wrote their best music in smaller forms.

Next season, trios by Brahms and Ravel and quintets by Dvorak and Faure will fill in major blanks in music history.

Other programs bring newer music and lesser-heard combos.

“I try to balance traditional chamber music against the more eclectic stuff,” Sherman said.

New or rarely heard music isn’t often feasible for orchestras, with their limited rehearsal time. Chamber groups will gladly light some candles and burn the midnight oil, just for fun, if the music grabs them.

Guest artists appear from time to time, but Sherman wants to stick with showcasing members of the orchestra. Some of the combos, like Sherman’s Icarus Trio and the Armonia Quartet play regularly as a team.

Sherman also likes to feature one non-traditional combination each year. A “tuba and bones” unit (Feb. 17) will find principal trombone Ava Ordman, principal tuba Phil Sinder and Garil Robertson on euphonium and trombone, tackling intriguing sounding stuff like David Gillingham’s “Diversive Elements.”

For that one, Sherman left the programming to Ordman and crew. He’ll sit back and get an education, like everyone else.

“I’ve never heard any of that music,” he said. “I love that.”

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