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Fetter Chamber Music Spring 2024 Concert Series

A Fetter group performing in Lang Concert Hall during the Fall '23 semester

Students will present the culmination of a semester’s hard work at the first of four Fetter Chamber Music Concerts this Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m. in the Lang Concert Hall. This semester’s concerts feature a variety of groups, both new and returning, performing a diverse repertoire.

Through the Fetter Chamber Music Program, small groups of students work together on musical projects of their choosing, usually consisting of one player to a part. The groups receive professionally coached sessions throughout the semester; however, the main impetus for music-making comes from the students. Thus, the repertoire tends to deviate from the expected classical European music and span genres from jazz to contemporary to early Renaissance music. 

“The beauty of Fetter,” says co-director of the program Andrew Hauze ‘04, “is that every semester, not only is there new repertoire but totally different combinations of students.” Hauze, a participant of the program himself during his time at Swarthmore, comments on the challenges of placing students into ensembles: “Chamber music is like a massive group project . . . you never know how people’s personalities are going to mix.” However, according to Jenna Takach ‘24, Hauze’s judgment seems to be working well. 

Takach, a senior minoring in music with a focus on voice and choral conducting, has participated in Fetter the past three semesters. She has worked on a range of projects from Mozart opera scenes to Critical Mass — Swarthmore’s early music vocal ensemble — and is currently preparing a duet for voice and percussion with Spencer Kennedy ‘27. “It’s really been a joy to work with him,” Takach says. “We didn’t know each other super well before . . . but Andrew recommended we work together because of our similar interests and complementing skill sets, and [Andrew] made a very good pairing.” Takach and Kennedy’s piece features a complex marimba melody combined with Takach’s singing; finding balance between the two is essential. Yet, Takach notes that Fetter is “less about the music itself and more [about] being in a room with other students who have the same passion to create an incredible piece of art.” Takach and Kennedy will be performing the third and fourth movements of Jorge Vidalis’s Four Basho Haiku, Eve Belgaraian’s Landscaping for Privacy, and Gene Koshinski’s Sky Songs on Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. in the Lang Music Concert Hall.

On the side of returning ensembles, Min Fruman ‘24 (cello), Angie Kwon ‘24 (violin), and Ava Posner ‘24 (piano) will return to the Fetter stage to perform an arrangement of Astor Piazzola’s Libertango and the first movement of Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music. “Both pieces are wild and fun,” Fruman says, “[the pieces] are also new territory for [the trio] to explore as primarily classically-trained musicians.” This semester will mark the trio’s last time performing together, and Fruman notes they are “trying to savor it as much as [they] can.” Fruman is particularly excited to perform Café Music. “Café Music has probably been our most challenging piece of repertoire to date, it draws . . . from jazz music and has some pretty gnarly rhythmic passages.” Fruman, Kwon, and Posner will be performing on Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m. in the Lang Music Concert Hall.

Joey Driscoll ‘26 (violin), Tabitha Parker-Theiss ‘26 (violin), and Hannah Rowland-Seymour ‘27 (cello) will showcase Alexander Borodin’s String Trio in G Minor. According to Driscoll, the piece is based on a Russian folk song called “What Have I Done to Hurt You.”  “The main challenge is finding the time to practice,” Driscoll notes, but the trio make it work. Driscoll is a veteran of the Fetter Program, having performed with a variety of string trios and duets since she joined during her first semester at Swarthmore. “Chamber music is really special to me,” she notes.“I love that I am able to make close musical connections with people.” Driscoll, Parker-Thesis, and Rowland-Seymour are performing on Friday, April 19th at 8 p.m.

The Fetter Chamber Concerts will take place in the Lang Concert Hall on Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m., and Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. All concerts are free and open to the public.