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Springtime for Cello and Flute
Guild Hall of Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Newport
Newport, RI
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Springtime for Cello and Flute
New York City duo Benjamin Larsen, cello and Martha Cargo, flute, perform substantial and fascinating new works by Drake Andersen, Reena Esmail, Paolo Marchettini and Robert Sirota, recently composed for this delightful combination of instruments (including a world premiere), along with favorites Jet Whistle by Villa-Lobos and a baroque duo by Dôthel. $20 suggested admission ($15 seniors/students) includes refreshments during the performance. Sponsored by Friends of Music at St. Johns. A Newport Daffodil Days Festival event. $5 off to wearers of a Daffodil Days daffy deals pin!

Cellist and project coordinator Ben Larsen writes:

"Very little has been composed for the duo combination of cello and flute. There have been incorporations of this combination into larger ensembles (more notably those of flute, cello, piano [Weber Trio]; flute, violin, viola, cello [Mozart Flute Quartets]; two flutes and cello [W.F. Bach, one of the most talented sons of J.S. Bach]; and flute, violin, and cello [Haydns London Trios]), but almost nothing exists exclusively for the combination of the two outside of Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Loboss Assobio a Jato (Jet Whistle). Recently, a friend and I were talking about performing duos together, and we realized there was this lack of available repertoire. I decided to approach some of my composer friends, as well as the superbly talented flutist Martha Cargo, to tackle this dilemma.

The biggest obstacle when it comes to commissions is funding: as much trouble as freelance musicians have making a living, composers often have an even more difficult path, tasked to teach theory, teach or perform on any instruments they are able, and/or take a day job, typically after spending a decade or more in school to get a Doctorate of Musical Arts, one of the few degrees that will give them a chance at a college or university teaching position. While the musicians are the people who most often want to commission works, performers are often those who are least able to afford the fees of the composers, and composers are even less able to afford to simply give away their services.

Martha and I have approached eight composers to write works for our particular duo combination, and we have received an enthusiastic response from each one. These incredible creative minds are:

Drake Andersen, Molly Joyce, Natalie Dietterich, Paolo Marchettini, Qin Ding, Reena Esmail, Robert Sirota, Whitney George.

The composers involved in this project are an exceptional gathering of three men and five women from a variety of cultural, geographical and generational backgrounds, spanning three continents, and over four decades. They hail from the country's finest conservatories and universities, including Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, Harvard, Yale and Oberlin, and include Fulbright recipients as well as winners of a diverse array of international awards. Their works have been performed by major symphony orchestras across the globe, in addition to groups including the Chiara, American, Ethel and Blair string quartets, Windscape Ensemble, and Decoda.

This project provides space for creators from diverse backgrounds to learn about each other in a new light, while also allowing them the opportunity to forge new relationships and friendships. That is what makes this project unique: it allows composers to connect to one another, as well as working with the performers to reimagine the ensemble of flute and cello in their own distinct voice. We are thrilled to share this diverse body of work with you!

One of the best parts of this project is that it gives you, the donor, the opportunity to take part in making this creative process possible. Over the centuries, many of the greatest works ever written were commissioned by Popes, Cardinals, Kings, Duchesses, Princes and Emperors. These days, we don't see the Queen of England picking up her checkbook: will you step forward and take an integral part in making a new masterpiece possible? Join us in expanding the repertoire for this vital instrumentation. Who knows: maybe one day, decades from now, somebody will be reading about you in their program notes!"

By attending this concert you directly support the creation of new music! Please join us!


Sonata No. 5 Niccolò Dôthel (1721-1810)

Allegro moderato

Quadri  Paolo Marchettini (b. 1976)

Nadiya Reena Esmail (b. 1983) (World Premiere)


One Another  Drake Andersen (b. 1987)

broken places Robert Sirota (b. 1949)

Assobio a Játo (Jet Whistle) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)


Cellist Benjamin Larsen made his solo debut in 1999 at the Merryall Center for the Arts, where critic Frank Merkling called him remarkably gifted, with a charming, warm tone. He has performed solo and chamber performances around the U.S., in Europe and Asia and currently plays with chamber ensembles in the New York City area. As free-lance cellist, he has performed with many diverse ensembles, accompanying the musical, Time Between Us in the New York Musical Theater Festival and appearing with the band, The Left Banke. He is on the faculty of Zen Music School, the Florentine School, the Music School of Westchester, and holds a private studio. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of the chamber music series, Concerts on the Slope and COTS@2nd Street.
Mr. Larsen has performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Quartet Program, Music@Menlo and Pacific Music Festival. His coaches include members of the Emerson, Tokyo, American and Orion string quartets, as well as Robert Mann, Nicholas Mann, Peter Frankl, Andre Michel Schub, Daniel Epstein, Sylvia Rosenberg and others. His primary teachers were Eric Dahlin, David Finckel, Julia Lichten and Clive Greensmith. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Ensemble 212, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra and the Union City Philharmonic. Mr. Larsen holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Hans and Klara Bauer Scholarship and the 2011 Pablo Casals Award.  

Hailed by the New York Times as "excellent" and praised for her "milky" tone by I Care if You Listen, New York-based flutist Martha Cargo is committed to the integration of experimental music into various media, be it contemporary art, theater or dance. Equally at home as soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Cargo performs actively with Ghost Ensemble, Glass Farm Ensemble, and Tenth In- tervention and has collaborated with OnSite NYC, Erick Hawkins Dance Company and Synthesis Aesthetics Project. She is a recent addition to Whitney George's project The Curiosity Cabinet and has performed with neoLIT, Tempus Continuum, and Ensemble sans maître. Ms. Cargo is dedicated to collaborating with young composers. Over the last few years, she has commissioned and premiered solo works by Jonah Rosenberg, Yangzhi Ma, Anne Goldberg, and Mike Perdue, as well as numerous chamber works. Last summer, she performed music by young com- posers from Asia at the Beijing Modern Music Festival. A graduate of Oberlin College's double-degree program in Flute and Chemistry, she completed her Masters in Music at SUNY-Purchase and continued her studies in the Contemporary Program at Manhattan School of Music. Martha currently works as Assistant to the Music Director at the Americas Society and as Social Media Coordinator for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.


Guild Hall of Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Newport (View)
61 Poplar Street
Newport, RI 02840
United States


Arts > Performance
Music > Classical
Music > Experimental
Music > Festivals
Other > Festivals

Minimum Age: 5
Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


Owner: Friends of Music at St. John's
On BPT Since: Apr 03, 2017
Friends of Music at St. John's
401 848 2561

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