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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Cornucopia of Chamber Music

By Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | October 22, 2018


The Fall Chamber Music Series concludes this weekend with a virtual cornucopia of musical styles and sounds in the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28. The concert is free and tickets are not required. The concert will also stream live at www.marineband.marines.mil.


Coordinated by clarinetist Gunnery Sgt. Harry Ong, the concert will take listeners on a musical journey from humankind’s earliest music of primal drumming to present day Middle East, with stops in South American jazz clubs, old English pubs, and a 19th century German music festival. “The program was inspired by my colleagues and the pieces highlight their capabilities and versatility to perform so many different types of music on such a high level,” Ong said.


“Each piece on the program is intensely engaging and has a lot to offer,” Ong continued. “But I personally enjoy Johannes Brahms’ Trio in A minor and Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Milonga del Ángel’ the most. Piazzolla’s music is a real pleasure to listen to. He uses a persistent milonga rhythm and overlays it with sentimental harmonies, yearning violin melodies, and hints of jazz improvisation in the accordion.”


“Brahms is one of my favorite composers, so naturally it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to finally perform his Clarinet Trio,” Ong said. “While soaring melodies and rich harmonies are easily apparent, other highlights in the piece include displaced rhythms in the first movement, the third movement’s juxtaposition of the waltz and ländler dances, and hints of Hungarian music in the last movement.”


But those two selections merely scratch the surface of the depth of this program. “Gene Koshinski’s ‘Dance of the Drums’ instantly transports the listener with the sound of the conch shell and takes them on a fun ride with the drum groove backdrop used throughout the piece,” Ong explained. But he was instantly impressed with how Sahba Aminikia “painted” three distinct images of one day in his String Quartet No. 2, One Day; Tehran. “He maintains tension throughout his string quartet with select use of dissonance, driving rhythms in the middle section, and even using quarter tones in the cello to create unease while things appear to relax in the third section.” Eric Ewazen’s Colchester Fantasy rounds out the performance with its musical depiction of Britain’s oldest recorded town and its pubs. “The varied colors, textures, and rhythms that the Ewazen quintet demands are all enjoyable to experience and it really showcases the level and virtuosity of our brass,” Ong said.


The recital will take place at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex at 7th & K Streets in southeast Washington, D.C. Free parking is available in the garage under the overpass. Patrons are encouraged to allow extra time for security checks.

Complete program and program notes


Directions and Parking Information


Watch the Live Stream

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