Fetter Chamber Music Spring 2023 Concert Series
The Fetter Chamber Music Program is a staple of Swarthmore’s music program. For decades, the Fetter Program has allowed students to explore everything that chamber music has to offer. The department is excited to host a series of performances in the upcoming weeks on April 15th, April 23rd, April 28th, and April 29th in Lang Concert Hall.
“There are four performances, each with a unique program of student chamber groups,” Jeanette Honig, one of the Fetter Program directors, explains. “The groups range from duos, to trios, to quartets, to sextets, and from classical, to tango, and jazz to early music.” Olivia Scarozza ‘25 is a member of Critical Mass. “[Critical Mass] is one of the larger Fetter groups and it is one that stays pretty consistent throughout the years. It’s run by Professor Blasina and it’s focused on early Renaissance singing, which is usually a cappella.”
One of the pieces that the group will perform is Leonora d’Este’s Virgo Sancta Katherina, and Scarozza is looking forward to Critical Mass’s unique performance of the song. “We’re going to sing the plainsong chant that it was adapted from first before we sing the four part piece. There’s a cool meter change in the middle of the piece, which is difficult, but it [has] really beautiful lines separately and all together.” In addition to providing complimentary music lessons, Scarozza notes how the music program has supported Critical Mass in other unique ways. “We had this early music group called ‘Blue Heron’ [as part of the Cooper series] and they did a masterclass with Critical Mass a few weeks ago and it was incredible. So we got really close instructions from experts and scholars in the field.” Critical Mass will be performing on April 23rd.
Allison Shih ‘25 will play in a flute quartet alongside Kayden Bowie ‘25, Lauren Martindale ‘25, and Tianlen Wen ‘26 on April 29th. The group will perform two pieces: Eric Ewazen’s Harmony in Blue and Gold and Catherine McMichael’s A Gaelic Offering. “Both of our pieces this semester incorporate the alto flute, which is different from the regular C flute, so it has been really interesting to experiment with the sounds and techniques of the different instruments,” Shih said.
While also a member of the Wind Ensemble, Shih touched on the differences between chamber music groups and larger ensembles. “I have really enjoyed doing chamber music. There is something really special about having the opportunity to do music with your friends where we are all learning together and improving in the process. Specifically for my chamber group, since it's all the same instrument, doing chamber music with other flutes has given me the opportunity to learn more about my instrument’s playing techniques.” In addition to the group’s weekly rehearsal, they had the special opportunity to receive a masterclass from Grammy-nominated flutist Brandon Patrick George.
The Fetter Chamber Music Spring 2023 Performances will take place on Saturday, April 15th at 3 pm, Sunday, April 23rd at 7:30 pm, Friday, April 28th at 8 pm, and Saturday, April 29th, at 3 pm.