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Chamber Music Series: May 7

Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust

May 7 Chamber Music Series: All About That Bass

2 May 2023 | Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust United States Marine Band

The Marine Chamber Music Series continues with its final concert of the season at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 7, with a program featuring a sextet of winds and piano, a string quintet, and a bass clarinet nonet (that’s nine bass clarinets!). Coordinated by Bass Clarinetist Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Dees, the performance will take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall online and in person at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C.

Dees offered the following on the program:

One of the great things about being a member of “The President’s Own” is being surrounded by amazingly talented colleagues. One of those colleagues is Staff Sgt. Parker Gaims who, in addition to being a member of our clarinet section, is a wonderful composer. This program was conceived around his Nonet for Bass Clarinets. The piece was written for J. Lawrie Bloom, the bass clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 2020 and an adjunct professor of clarinet at Northwestern University for many years. For the premiere at the International Clarinet Association Convention in 2016, Bloom was joined by eight of his former students who held prominent positions in major bands and orchestras around the country. It is difficult to get nine bass clarinetists together in the same room, so I am pleased to be able to perform this work.

Balancing out the first half of the program is Louise Farrenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds in C minor, Opus 40. This features a more traditional instrumentation of woodwind quintet plus piano. While Farrenc’s works were largely overshadowed in the 19th century by her male contemporaries (think Beethoven and Schubert), her music has recently seen a 21st century revival in popularity.

The entire second half features a giant from the string repertoire: Antonín Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 2, Opus 77 in G Major. Written when the composer was thirty-five years old and in the prime of his career, this quintet features four movements of Dvořák at his best. Always proud of his Czech heritage, he weaves folk melodies from his homeland throughout the work.

The concert is free and open to the public; no tickets required. The Marine Barracks Annex is located at 1053 7th Street SE in Washington, DC, and free parking is available in the gated lot beneath the bridge on 7th Street. Please allow extra time for ID checks and security at the gate.