The first Fetter Chamber Music Concert of the semester is on Friday, November 17th at 8 PM in the Lang Concert Hall. This semester, students have collaborated with faculty, visiting artists, a stage director, and each other to bring a variety of fresh, unique performances to Swarthmore.
The Fetter Chamber Music program provides a space for students to come together and make music in small groups. Student ensembles are provided ten professionally coached sessions a semester; however, the majority of music making is left to the students. “Students are working together and learning to collaborate … it’s their project,” says co-director Andrew Hauze ’04. “As long as the students in a group are well-matched to each other [any genre of music] can work.”
This semester’s performances include projects that are novel for the program – the November 17th performance pairs Swarthmore Music’s featured artists Dana Lyn and Kyle Sanna, a fiddle and guitar duo that specializes in traditional Irish music, with a student chamber group. Through the Fetter program, the duo will perform their original piece “Coral Suite” alongside Swarthmore student chamber musicians. The piece tells the story of a coral reef with animations projected throughout the performance. Lyn and Sanna interweave different traditional Irish tunes to represent events like schools of fish feasting on coral and storms bearing down on the reef. In addition to rehearsals with the student chamber group, the pair have made class visits, performed a Lunch Hour Concert, and held a workshop focused on the unique skills that the aural tradition of Irish music requires as part of their featured artist residency at the College.
Ruby Novogrodsky ’25, who is performing with Lyn and Sanna for the “Coral Suite,” spoke to the special collaborative nature of the Fetter program. “Music-making is a very rewarding kind of collaboration, and through Fetter, I've gotten to play with many different groups. Every time you join a new group, you have to discover and build the group's sound. We develop that sound through the piece we play, and then we get to turn around and use it to bring that piece to life.”
Another unique project this semester involves the Swarthmore Lab Orchestra, led by student conductors Kai Williams ‘24 and Kielor Tung ‘25, collaborating with eight student singers to put on a semi-staged production of the second act finale of Mozart’s Le Nozze diFigaro. Speaking about the rehearsal process, singer Jenna Takach ’24 remarked “Most of my background is in choral music, so taking on a role of this caliber has been both exhilarating and challenging at the same time.” Even for students with long-time experience in opera, the performance provides new and exciting opportunities. “I’ve been singing opera for six years and never before had the opportunity to work with such talented coaches and peers, much less a full orchestra and a professional choreographer!” said singer Sara Zemelman ’24. The performance takes place at both the December 2nd and December 3rd Fetter concerts.
Min Fruman ‘24, who plays cello in a piano trio with Angie Kwon ‘24, violin, and Ava Posner ‘24, piano, remarks fondly of their time in Fetter, “chamber music is my favorite kind of music to perform because working towards a goal in a small group results in such deep connections. I feel lucky to have this bond with Angie and Ava, especially as we head into our final Fetter semester together.” This semester, Fruman’s trio will perform the first movement of the Smetana Piano Trio in G minor on December 9th.
The Fetter Chamber performances will take place in the Lang Concert Hall on Friday, November 17th at 8 PM, Saturday, December 2nd at 8 pm, Sunday, December 3rd at 3 pm, and Saturday, December 9th at 3 pm. Each concert is free and open to the public.