On July 24, 2014 five CSO string players and guitarist/composer Jason Seed played a benefit concert for the Marjorie Kovler Center, an agency which advocates for and provides treatment for asylum seekers and refugees who have been victims of torture. The concert featured compositions and arrangements by Jason Seed and Dan Armstrong in musical styles from Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, as well as the Dvorak Quintet op. 77. We are also grateful to the Pianoforte Foundation for hosting the concert and the sponsorship of the Citizen Musican initiative of the CSO.
CSO musicians involved were Cornelius Chiu and So Young Bae, violins, Danny Lai, viola, Dan Katz, cello, and Dan Armstrong, double bass.
The concert opened with a lively tune called Pinch by Jason Seed for four players.
Dan Armstrong’s Hurdygurdy Dances is based on a pieces by Montreal hurdygurdy player Tobie Miller and Silk Road pipa player Yang Wei.
On June 7, Rachel Goldstein, violin, Wei-Ting Kuo, viola, Gary Stucka, cello, Steve Lester, bass, and Mio Nakamura, piano, gave a performance of the Trout Quintet of Franz Schubert. It was one of the first performances in the newly renovated Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building. In addition to the Trout Quintet, the four strings players were joined by violinist Susan Synnestvedt for the String Quintet by William Lester (1889-1956), the grandfather of Steve Lester, who taught, composed and was an organist in Chicago all of his life. He had a studio in the Fine Arts Building for many years.