UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The 18-piece Sheep Island Ensemble will present a guest recital at 8 p.m. on Sept. 3 in the Penn State School of Music's Esber Recital Hall. Admission is free.
Titled "Bass Battles," the performance will feature bass concerti by Dragonetti, Speger, and two world premieres of music written for bass by Sheep Island Ensemble conductor James Blachly and ensemble member Doug Balliett. Soloists are Doug Balliett and Penn State faculty member Rob Nairn.
Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra in D Major - Domenico Dragonetti
Concerto for Contrabasso in B Minor - Johann Matthias Sperger
Duo for Two Double Basses - James Blachly (world premiere)
The Four Seasons of New York: Concerto for Solo Bass and Orchestra - Doug Balliett (world premiere)
From a small concert in 2009, the Sheep Island Ensemble has grown to include a vibrant partnership between patrons, concert-goers and performers, establishing itself as a vital part of the New York City musical community. The group takes its name from a tiny island in the Gulf of Maine where there is no running water or electricity, and where time stands still in the experience of deep natural beauty and the gentle light of the Aladdin lamp. It is the intention of the ensemble to perpetuate a similar experience of serenity, beauty and strength through its musical presentations.
The ensemble is envisioned by conductor and composer James Blachly and realized by a virtuosic assemblage of musicians that varies depending upon what fascinating program they are presenting. Ever-present is the involvement of something raw, something classical, or well-known or more traditional, and something brand new. Concerts have included (or will include) Bulgarian folk musicians, Bartok, Haydn, and contemporary responses; ancient drinking songs, medieval motets, and new choral works based on the same; and Scottish folk songs in a variety of guises.
A native of New York City, composer-conductor James Blachly has been recognized by Chamber Music America as “vigorous and assured” for his first string quartet, and praised by The New York Times for his “thoughtful conception” of Mahler 4. He is particularly at home writing for strings and voice.