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Emerald City Music launches third season at new Olympia home

Emerald City Music’s executive director Andrew Goldstein poses outside the Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College. The center is now the music series’ home venue.
Emerald City Music’s executive director Andrew Goldstein poses outside the Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College. The center is now the music series’ home venue. Courtesy of Emerald City Music

As it launches its third season with Saturday’s “Four Seasons,” regional chamber music series Emerald City Music has found a place to land in Olympia.

Despite the Seattle-centric name, this Emerald City is based here: Olympia is home to executive director Andrew Goldstein, and the series has consistently presented concerts — including a world premiere by Grammy and Pulitzer winner John Luther Adams — in Olympia as well as Seattle.

The program is transitioning into a permanent home at the Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College, which will host four of this season’s six offerings and all performances in seasons to come.

“The hall’s gorgeous acoustics and comfortable ambiance fit wonderfully with our dream for this series: a casual place where the community can gather to be captivated by this incredible genre of chamber music,” artistic director Kristin Lee of New York City said in a press release.

The season — with a half-dozen concerts happening here and in Seattle, one of which will add a Bellingham performance as well — will bring more than 40 musicians, many young and all with impressive credentials, to the Northwest to play a sometimes surprising selection of music.

Saturday’s “Four Seasons” showcases an eclectic array of duets. The titular “Seasons” is not the work of Antonio Vivaldi; rather, it’s tango master Astor Piazzolla’s 1968 “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.” Also on the program is Paul Wiancko’s 2014 “American Haiku,” featuring the composer himself on cello and international award winner Ayane Kozasa on viola. “Haiku” mixes Appalachian fiddle music and with melodies inspired by Japanese folk songs.

That’s just the beginning of a season that Lee describes as “even more daring and eclectic” than the first two. Among the offerings will be Steve Reich’s 1976 “Music for 18 Musicians” (March 2), a rarely performed minimalist soundscape featuring four pianos, six marimbas and a vocal quartet, and Emerald City’s first folk band, The Dreamers’ Circus (April 6), which reimagines the folk music of its native Denmark.

“I am so excited and cannot wait to see how our community will respond,” Lee told The Olympian.

As part of its mission to engage audiences in new ways, the series will host a pre-concert lounge before the Minnaert concerts, offering concertgoers free coffee and snacks and the chance to mingle with some of the visiting musicians.

Students at the college also will be mingling with some of the artists, who’ll offer performances and workshops on the campus as well as continuing to bring live classical music to students in local school districts.

Lee and Goldstein hope to inspire audience members of all ages to listen to classical music outside the concert hall. The morning after each concert, those who attended will receive a playlist curated by Lee.

“This new program keeps our artistic vision going long after the concert ends,” Goldstein told The Olympian. “We hope this keeps listeners engaged in their day-to-day lives.”

‘Four Seasons’

Emerald City Music opens its third season with an eclectic program of duets including Paul Wiancko’s 2014 “American Haiku,” featuring the composer himself on cello.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia

Tickets: $25-$40, $20 for seniors, $7 for students

More information: 360-753-8586, emeraldcitymusic.org, washingtoncenter.org

The rest of the season

Café Music — 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27, Minnaert Center

Daedalus Quartet — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, The Evergreen State College Recital Hall, 2700 Evergreen Pkwy., Olympia

18 Musicians — 7:30 p.m. March 2, Minnaert Center

The Dreamers’ Circus — 7:30 p.m. April 6, Minnaert Center

Bach Cello Suites — 7:30 p.m. May 25, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

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